A pilot cohort study of lumbar facet joint denervation in patients with chronic low-back pain

Rune Tendal Paulsen*, Leah Y Carreon, Frederik Busch, Alexander Isenberg-Jørgensen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Radio-frequency (RF) denervation of the facet joints is a procedure aimed at the nociceptive median branch nerves of the lumbar dorsal rami. Pain signals from the facet joints are carried through these fibres; by ablating these fibres, central signalling can be prevented. This pilot study investigated the clinical effect and feasibility of the procedure at our institution, the Spine Centre of Southern Denmark. METHODS: Patients with at least 50% pain relief after initial medial branch diagnostic blocks were candidates for RF denervation. Patients were divided into two groups: 1) patients with at least 80% pain relief and 2) patients with between 50% and 79% pain relief after diagnostic blocks. Denervation was performed bilaterally on the three lowest facet joints in the lumbar spine. The primary outcome parameter was visual analogue scale (VAS). Follow-up questionnaires were answered after one week and after three, six and 12 months. RESULTS: For the whole sample, we found a mean reduction of 43 VAS points after one week. At three months, we found a mean reduction of 25 points. Six-month data showed a mean 19-point reduction. Twelve-month data showed a mean reduction of 17 points. Group 1 showed superior improvements at all follow-up points and after 12 months, we found a mean VAS reduction of 22 points for this group. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot cohort study found RF denervation of the facet joint to be a promising alternative for patients with chronic low-back pain. The effect persisted at the one-year follow-up; however, the effect diminished over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA5533
JournalDanish Midical Journal (Dan Med J)
Volume66
Issue number3
Number of pages5
ISSN1603-9629
Publication statusPublished - 1. Mar 2019

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Zygapophyseal Joint
Low Back Pain
Cohort Studies
Visual Analog Scale
Radio
Median Nerve
Denmark

Cite this

@article{2565d8057a40476a89981829cf74d183,
title = "A pilot cohort study of lumbar facet joint denervation in patients with chronic low-back pain",
abstract = "INTRODUCTION: Radio-frequency (RF) denervation of the facet joints is a procedure aimed at the nociceptive median branch nerves of the lumbar dorsal rami. Pain signals from the facet joints are carried through these fibres; by ablating these fibres, central signalling can be prevented. This pilot study investigated the clinical effect and feasibility of the procedure at our institution, the Spine Centre of Southern Denmark. METHODS: Patients with at least 50{\%} pain relief after initial medial branch diagnostic blocks were candidates for RF denervation. Patients were divided into two groups: 1) patients with at least 80{\%} pain relief and 2) patients with between 50{\%} and 79{\%} pain relief after diagnostic blocks. Denervation was performed bilaterally on the three lowest facet joints in the lumbar spine. The primary outcome parameter was visual analogue scale (VAS). Follow-up questionnaires were answered after one week and after three, six and 12 months. RESULTS: For the whole sample, we found a mean reduction of 43 VAS points after one week. At three months, we found a mean reduction of 25 points. Six-month data showed a mean 19-point reduction. Twelve-month data showed a mean reduction of 17 points. Group 1 showed superior improvements at all follow-up points and after 12 months, we found a mean VAS reduction of 22 points for this group. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot cohort study found RF denervation of the facet joint to be a promising alternative for patients with chronic low-back pain. The effect persisted at the one-year follow-up; however, the effect diminished over time.",
author = "{Tendal Paulsen}, Rune and Carreon, {Leah Y} and Frederik Busch and Alexander Isenberg-J{\o}rgensen",
year = "2019",
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journal = "Danish Medical Journal",
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A pilot cohort study of lumbar facet joint denervation in patients with chronic low-back pain. / Tendal Paulsen, Rune; Carreon, Leah Y; Busch, Frederik ; Isenberg-Jørgensen, Alexander .

In: Danish Midical Journal (Dan Med J), Vol. 66, No. 3, A5533, 01.03.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - A pilot cohort study of lumbar facet joint denervation in patients with chronic low-back pain

AU - Tendal Paulsen, Rune

AU - Carreon, Leah Y

AU - Busch, Frederik

AU - Isenberg-Jørgensen, Alexander

PY - 2019/3/1

Y1 - 2019/3/1

N2 - INTRODUCTION: Radio-frequency (RF) denervation of the facet joints is a procedure aimed at the nociceptive median branch nerves of the lumbar dorsal rami. Pain signals from the facet joints are carried through these fibres; by ablating these fibres, central signalling can be prevented. This pilot study investigated the clinical effect and feasibility of the procedure at our institution, the Spine Centre of Southern Denmark. METHODS: Patients with at least 50% pain relief after initial medial branch diagnostic blocks were candidates for RF denervation. Patients were divided into two groups: 1) patients with at least 80% pain relief and 2) patients with between 50% and 79% pain relief after diagnostic blocks. Denervation was performed bilaterally on the three lowest facet joints in the lumbar spine. The primary outcome parameter was visual analogue scale (VAS). Follow-up questionnaires were answered after one week and after three, six and 12 months. RESULTS: For the whole sample, we found a mean reduction of 43 VAS points after one week. At three months, we found a mean reduction of 25 points. Six-month data showed a mean 19-point reduction. Twelve-month data showed a mean reduction of 17 points. Group 1 showed superior improvements at all follow-up points and after 12 months, we found a mean VAS reduction of 22 points for this group. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot cohort study found RF denervation of the facet joint to be a promising alternative for patients with chronic low-back pain. The effect persisted at the one-year follow-up; however, the effect diminished over time.

AB - INTRODUCTION: Radio-frequency (RF) denervation of the facet joints is a procedure aimed at the nociceptive median branch nerves of the lumbar dorsal rami. Pain signals from the facet joints are carried through these fibres; by ablating these fibres, central signalling can be prevented. This pilot study investigated the clinical effect and feasibility of the procedure at our institution, the Spine Centre of Southern Denmark. METHODS: Patients with at least 50% pain relief after initial medial branch diagnostic blocks were candidates for RF denervation. Patients were divided into two groups: 1) patients with at least 80% pain relief and 2) patients with between 50% and 79% pain relief after diagnostic blocks. Denervation was performed bilaterally on the three lowest facet joints in the lumbar spine. The primary outcome parameter was visual analogue scale (VAS). Follow-up questionnaires were answered after one week and after three, six and 12 months. RESULTS: For the whole sample, we found a mean reduction of 43 VAS points after one week. At three months, we found a mean reduction of 25 points. Six-month data showed a mean 19-point reduction. Twelve-month data showed a mean reduction of 17 points. Group 1 showed superior improvements at all follow-up points and after 12 months, we found a mean VAS reduction of 22 points for this group. CONCLUSIONS: This pilot cohort study found RF denervation of the facet joint to be a promising alternative for patients with chronic low-back pain. The effect persisted at the one-year follow-up; however, the effect diminished over time.

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JO - Danish Medical Journal

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