Radiofrequency (RF) Neurotomy of the facet joints is a treatment option for those patients who have had significant pain relief (generally greater than 80%) from injection of the facet joints or medial branch nerves, but the relief is temporary.

The goal is to deaden the small nerves that give feeling to the joint, using heat from a special needle. Two nerves need to be treated per joint.  These nerves cannot be seen with X-ray, but their location along the bone is fairly predictable. Thus, to be sure the RF lesion is made in the correct location, test blocks (also know as medial branch blocks) will be done using different freezing solutions.  If significant pain relief is experienced, the patient is considered a good candidate for the RF neurotomy


  • 60 - 80% of patients experience good to excellent pain relief for at least 8 - 18 months.  The procedure can be repeated.

  • A regular spine exercise program may improve the success of the procedure.

  • You will be contacted by the CAPRI clinic ~3 months after your treatment to determine if there has been improvement in your pain, disability and quality of life. If that is not the outcome, we may schedule a follow-up appointment to re-evaluate your condition.