Korean J Pain.  2005 Dec;18(2):151-155. 10.3344/kjp.2005.18.2.151.

Raiofrequency Neurotomy for Lumbar Facet Joint Pain in the Patients with Failed Back Surgery Syndrome

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea. jcshim@hanyang.ac.kr


A significant number of patients complain of persistent pain or neurologic symptoms after lower back surgery. It is reported that facet joint pain plays a role in failed back surgery syndrome. To the best of our knowledge, there are few studies that have investigated the outcome of radiofrequency neurotomy in the patients with failed back surgery syndrome. METHODS: The study group was composed of thirteen patients who were operated on due to their low back pain, and they displayed no postoperative improvement. All the patients underwent double diagnostic block of the lumbar medial branch of the dorsal rami with using 0.5% bupivacaine. The patients who revealed a positive response to the double diagnostic block were then treated with percutaneous radiofrequency neurotomy. The effect on their pain was evaluated with using a 4 point Likert scale. RESULTS: Eleven patients revealed a positive response to the double diagnostic block. Ten patients were given percutaneous radiofrequency neurotomy. Nine patients showed sustained pain relief for 3 months after the percutaneous radiofrequency neurotomy. CONCLUSIONS: We found lumbar facet joint syndrome in the patients with failed back surgery syndrome by performing double diagnostic block and achieving pain relief during the short term follow-up after percutaneous radiofrequency neurotomy of the lumbar zygapophysial joints. This suggested that facet joint pain should be included in failed back surgery syndrome.


facet joint pain; failed back surgery syndrome; radiofrequency neurotom

MeSH Terms

Failed Back Surgery Syndrome*
Follow-Up Studies
Low Back Pain
Neurologic Manifestations
Zygapophyseal Joint*
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