Rhizotomy

A Rhizotomy is a neuro-surgical operation used to treat neck and back pain resulting from arthritis of the facet joints of your spine. Your surgeon performs a Rhizotomy only after confirming that the facet joint is the cause of your pain.

How is it done?

Rhizotomy is performed under GA (general anesthesia). The patient lies face down. An incision is made at the center of the lower back just above the waist, exposing the sensory nerve roots at the spinal cord. Individual nerve rootlets are electrically stimulated. Since these are sensory nerves, they should not stimulate muscle movement. Those that do (and therefore cause spasticity) are cut. Usually, one quarter to one-half of nerve rootlets is severed.

Rhizotomy procedure is done in patients with unusual stiffness or tightness of muscles and also after using the (pain creams, joint injections, and physical therapy) cannot provide long-term relief. This surgical intervention is advised commonly for those patients with tightness in lower limbs that involves walking or severe stiffness of muscles that limit day to day activities or positioning of limbs. It is performed in children with cerebral palsy.

After the operation, the patient will spend one to several days in the hospital.  The next day Physical therapy and strength training should be started, in order to gain maximum, that expected from surgery and to keep the limbs mobile. Medication may be given for pain.

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