Tests and treatments
Facet joint denervation
What is it?
Due to wear and tear (arthrosis), inflammation, surgery or an accident, the facet joints may undergo changes. This can irritate nerves, which then causes pain in the neck, chest or lumbar areas.
Pain originating from the facet joints in the neck cause neck pain, which can sometimes radiate to the shoulder and in-between the shoulder blades. Neck movement is also often restricted.
When there is irritation in the facet joints of the lower back, there is usually pain that wraps around the lower back. This sometimes radiates to the upper legs. The pain may also manifest on one side only.
Facet joint denervation can be helpful in this case. Using a radiofrequency current, the fact joint responsible for the pain is heated. This heat affects the nerve and blocks the pain signals that travel along the nerve pathways towards the brain. With the (temporary) denervation, the pain can be reduced for a longer period.
In order to confirm that the facet joints contribute to your pain, a test block (e.g. diagnostic block) is first performed at the level of the joints. A positive block is used as an indication, but is not an absolute guarantee that radiofrequency denervation will be successful. It is necessary to first do this, however, so that the facet denervation will be reimbursed.
A test block and a facet denervation cannot be performed on the same day. Denervation can be performed during the first three months after a positive test treatment.
Latest publication date: 28/06/2021