To understand what is facet joint denervation you have to know what is facet joint.
Facet joints are located at the back of the spine on either side of the vertebrae at the point when one vertebra overlaps the next vertebra. The facet joints give stability to the spine and gives flexibility so we can bend or twist. The joints are surrounded by a joint capsule which is filled with a lubricating liquid.
Facet joint denervation is a procedure in which small nerves supplying the joints in the back or neck are burnt with a special needle. This procedure is done if there is high degree of suspicion that facet joints are the cause of pain. Facet joints in the spinal column often become weak, worn, and inflamed and hence are a great cause of pain.
In this procedure local anesthesia is induced to numb the area and nerves supplying the facet joins are located by passing a mild electrical current via a thin needle. Then the tip of the needle is electrically heated to burn the nerve.
This is a minimally invasive pain management technique which inactivates the nerves to the joints. Research has shown that this is an extremely effective procedure in treating patients who have failed to respond to other therapies. Recent studies have shown that 92% of patients who have undergone this procedure have returned to work in just two weeks.
These kinds of interventional procedures are carried out under constant x-ray screening which enables the surgeon to monitor the position of the instruments and needles hence minimizing complications. In certain cases soreness or pain in the operated area is experienced for few weeks.