Success of Initial and Repeated Medial Branch Neurotomy for Zygapophysial Joint Pain: A Systematic Review

Matthew Smuck, Ralph A. Crisostomo, Kavita Trivedi, Divya Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To review the duration of pain relief after initial and repeated radiofrequency neurotomy (RFN) for cervical and lumbar zygapophysial joint pain. Methods: We searched PubMed to identify all articles that met review criteria for in-depth analysis, synthesis, and review. Results: Data from 16 articles are reported in this review, including 8 cervical studies, 7 lumbar studies, and 1 study of both cervical and lumbar treatment. Overall, methodology and design quality of cervical studies exceeded that of lumbar studies. For initial cervical RFN, average range duration of >50% pain relief was 7.3-8.6 months. Repeated cervical RFN was successful 67%-95% of the time when the first RFN procedure was successful. When the first RFN procedure was unsuccessful, repeated RFN was successful 0%-67% of the time. The average range duration of pain relief after successful repeated RFN was 6.0-12.7 months. For initial lumbar RFN, the average duration of >50% pain relief was 9.0 months. Repeated lumbar RFN was successful 33%-85% of the time when the first RFN procedure was successful. The average duration of pain relief after successful repeated lumbar RFN was 11.6 months. Conclusions: The results of this review indicate that pain relief after initial RFN generally ends after 7-9 months and that repeating RFN is likely to provide additional pain relief if initial RFN was successful. Results are similar between cervical and lumbar spine studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-692
Number of pages7
JournalPM and R
Volume4
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2012

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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