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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Clinical Neurology