Radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a method that has been gaining popularity over the past few years among spinal surgeons. It has a role when dealing with pain of spinal origin, either mechanical or neuropathic, after conservative treatment has failed. In the present study, 122 patients with a minimal follow up of 1 year were examined at our institution after having undergone RF heat lesion of the medial branch for mechanical spinal pain (low back pain, thoracic pain or cervical pain). They were followed up 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after treatment. Twenty-two of them were additionally followed up at 18 months. After 1 month, 91 patients (75%) were satisfied with the results. After 3 months, 87 patients (71%) had significant pain relief, while in 35 patients (29%) there was no improvement. After 6 months of follow-up, 80 patients (66%) had pain relief and in 42 patients (34%) there was no effect. At 12-months follow-up, 77 patients (63%) showed good results and 45 patients (37%) had no effect. In the case of the 22 patients who were followed for 18 months, all showed significant pain relief. Minor complications occurred in 27 patients (22%), who had transient discomfort and burning pain. We concluded that RF is a safe and partially effective procedure for mechanical back pain.
- Mechanical back pain