Features of conducting medial branches radiofrequency neurotomy in the cervical spine

  • V.G. Sichinava Kiev Municipal Emergency Hospital
Keywords: medial branch of the spinal nerve, features of anatomy, radiofrequency destruction.


Objective — optimize the technique of radiofrequency destruction of the medial branch of the spinal nerve and evaluate its effectiveness in the treatment of reflex pain syndromes of the cervical spine.

Materials and methods. In 30 patients with chronic pain in the neck and upper extremities who were treated in the department of neurosurgery N 2 of the Kyiv City Clinical Emergency Hospital from 2014 to 2017, the effectiveness of the radiofrequency neurotomy of the medial branch of the spinal cord back root and the clinical significance of diagnostic blockades. There were 14 men (46.7 %), women — 16 (53.3 %). The age of the patients is from 38 to 75 years (the average age is 53.7 years). Neurotomy was performed in patients with chronic neck pain with irradiation in the upper limbs, in which diagnostic blockades were effective. The study did not include patients with myelopathy and radiculopathy. Preoperative pain intensity ranges from 5 to 9 points (on average, 7.50 ± 0.86 points) on a visual analog scale (VAS). The duration of pain before surgery ranged from 6 months to 20 years (an average is 3.5 years). In 21 patients, the pain was one-sided (9 in the right, 12 in the left), and the others with a bilateral one. All patients underwent clinical and neurological examination, roentgenography of the cervical spine and magnetic resonance imaging. The efficacy of the therapy was assessed with the help of the VAS, the functional state using the NDI (Neck Disability Index) questionnaire.

Results. The pain intensity was assessed after 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. The pain intensity according to the VAS decreased from (7.50 ± 0.86) point before the operation to (2.07 ± 0.74) points after 12 months. A significant statistically significant (p < 0.05) improvement in the functional state compared with the baseline was noted in the postoperative period. Preoperative functional status was assessed on average (27.80 ± 1.19) points on the NDI scale. A week after the neurotomy, there was a statistically significant decrease in the total score on the NDI scale to an average of 12.90 ± 0.69, after 12 months to 13.10 ± 1.01.

Conclusions. Factors affecting the effectiveness of radiofrequency destruction include the proper selection of patients, the accuracy of diagnostic tests and the technically correct installation of the electrode. Knowledge of the anatomical features of the medial branch of the spinal nerve, the X-ray anatomy, the characteristics and size of the damage during radiofrequency destruction ensure the effectiveness of neurotomy.


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How to Cite
Sichinava, V. (2018). Features of conducting medial branches radiofrequency neurotomy in the cervical spine. Ukrainian Interventional Neuroradiology and Surgery, 24(2), 37-43. https://doi.org/10.26683/2304-9359-2018-2(24)-37-43