Rhizotomy for pain relief Different rhizotomies at Pain Specialists WA in Perth

At Pain Specialists WA, we understand the debilitating impact of chronic pain on your daily life. Rhizotomy is a specialised procedure that targets and interrupts the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals and provides long-lasting relief for various chronic pain conditions. 

Rhizotomy pain specialists perth
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What is a rhizotomy?

Rhizotomy is a highly specialised technique and is often used to treat chronic pain conditions involving your back, neck, shoulders, knees, groin, chest, pelvis and other peripheral nerves.

Rhizotomy is also known by other names such as:

  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Denervation
  • Neurotomy

It’s a minimally invasive procedure in which we ablate the nerve responsible for causing or transmitting pain. Basically, we use cold, heat or electric pulses to create a disruption in the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals. It is not a first-line treatment, so usually you would have tried more conservative options before having a rhizotomy. 

Dr Reza Feizerfan
Dr Reza Feizerfan

Let’s take an example of a patient who has back pain from facet joint arthritis. Small nerves around the facet joint start transmitting pain signals to the brain. Through rhizotomy, a disruption – in this case a lesion – is generated at the site of these small nerves so they can’t send pain signals to the brain. In most cases, the patient experiences an immediate pain relief. 

Rhizotomy can be used not only for back pain, but for a whole range of chronic conditions.

Three rhizotomy techniques

There are three different rhizotomy techniques. 

Each technique has special indications, and it’s up to the pain specialist to decide which one is best for your individual case. At Pain Specialists WA in Perth, we will always explain the different options so you understand which one is best for you. 

Rhizotomy and pain location

Rhizotomies are used to treat pain in different parts of your body. Here’s an overview.
  • Cervical rhizotomy targets the nerves in your neck to alleviate pain there, or pain that originates in the neck but is referred to your shoulders and arms.
  • Thoracic rhizotomy treats the nerves in the middle back to address pain in that region and possibly the chest and abdomen.
  • Lumbar rhizotomy focuses on the nerves in the lower back and aims to relieve pain in that region as well as the hips, buttocks and legs. Sacral rhizotomy targets the nerve in the lower part of your spine, the sacral region near the tailbone. This is to address pain in the sacroiliac joints, buttocks, pelvis and lower extremities.

Risks of pain management procedures

Pain management injections rhizotomy

Like any medical procedure, injections performed for pain management, do come with certain risks. Some of the risks are more frequent that others, such as temporary increase in the pain (pain flare up), soreness at the site of injection, bruises or swellings.

  • Pain flare up. It is not uncommon to have temporary discomfort after certain procedures. It is commonly observed after thermal rhizotomy. Other procedures such as nerve root sleeve injection can cause temporary pain flare up. A short course of pain medication often settles down these symptoms.
  • Headache. Risk of developing headache after epidural or nerve root sleeve injections is around 1 in 100 cases. If it happens, few days of rest, hydration and simple pain killers often is sufficient. Come cases may require a repeat of epidural injection to help with the headache.
  • Temporary numbness. This often occurs due to the local anaesthetics which numbs the nerves. The sensation will return once the local anaesthetics is worn off.
  • Difficulty controlling bladder and low blood pressure. They may occur after epidural injection. Sometimes you may need intravenous fluid or a temporary catheter. These symptoms resolve by itself once the local anaesthetics is worn off.

At Pain Specialists WA, we inform you about the risks associated with the treatments and we allocate time to answer your questions. 

Pain Specialists WA for rhizotomy

Pain Specialists WA in Perth is a pain management clinic located in Nedlands and Murdoch. Consultations are available at Hollywood Medical Centre in Nedlands and at Wexford Medical Centre in Murdoch. 

Call Pain Specialists WA in Perth or request an appointment online.