About the procedure

Rhizotomy is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure sometimes used to treat the pain and symptoms of serious neuromuscular. In this procedure, the diseased or damaged sensory nerves along the spine that are causing the pain and the spasticity are identified, and then they are separated from their corresponding motor nerve blocks, and the communication between them severed using tiny electrical impulses. In this way the “over-firing” nerve blocks that are causing the spasticity are eliminated, but without affecting overall nervous system sensitivity or function.

The procedure is performed with the patient lying on his or her stomach on a table equipped with state of the art imaging technology to help the interventional radiologist precisely locate and work with the affected nerve blocks. After numbing the area, small needles are placed adjacent to the problem sensory nerves and these are then treated with radiofrequency energy.

What to expect

The rhizotomy procedure will be performed as an outpatient by experienced interventional radiologists. The procedure is delicate and, depending on the patient’s condition, may take an hour to complete. You will be sedated during the procedure, with the areas on the back made numb with medications being provided to help keep you comfortable.

After being prepped by medical staff, you will lie face-down on a special table while the radiologist first inserts a tiny needle and injects contrast solution to better enable the doctors to locate the problematic nerve root. To verify proper placement, the nerve roots may be stimulated with low-voltage electricity to identify which muscles contract in response to the shock. The radiologist will then further anesthetize the nerve and apply heat to it with the needle’s electrode, thus severing its communication link with the brain. Because your feedback to the doctors is important during this procedure, your comfort and your condition will be monitored closely at all times.

After the procedure, you will be moved to a recovery room and should rest for some time while your condition is monitored. You may feel some numbness due to the anesthesia for the first few hours, but after that there is a possibility that your old symptoms will return and possibly be even more severe for 5 to 7 days after the procedure. Improvement is usually noticed two to three weeks following the procedure, although it may take several months before full relief from the pain and spasticity fully manifest.

Getting the best interventional radiology care possible

Managing pain is a critical part of providing modern medical care. Whether your pain is temporary (the result of a disease being treated), chronic (more long-term), or the result of serious illnesses, there are minimally-invasive treatments that can reduce it, and help you lead a more normal lifestyle. The interventional radiologists at MTV IR are specialists in delivering these state-of-the-art pain management methodologies, which is why so many doctors rely on MTV IR to provide their patients with the best pain treatment options in Dallas.