The Effectiveness and Risks of Fluoroscopically-Guided Cervical Medial Branch Thermal Radiofrequency Neurotomy: A Systematic Review with Comprehensive Analysis of the Published Data.
Pain Med. 2015 Sep 11;
Authors: Engel A, Rappard G, King W, Kennedy DJ, Standards Division of the International Spine Intervention Society
OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness and risks of fluoroscopically-guided cervical medial branch thermal radiofrequency neurotomy (CMBTRFN) for treating chronic neck pain of zygapophysial joint origin.
DESIGN: Systematic review of the literature with comprehensive analysis of the published data.
INTERVENTIONS: Four reviewers formally trained in evidence-based medicine searched the literature on CMBTRFN. Each assessed the methodologies of studies found and appraised the quality of evidence presented.
OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcomes assessed were 100% relief of pain 6 and 12 months after treatment. Other outcomes were noted if reported. The evidence was evaluated in accordance with the Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) system.
RESULTS: The searches yielded eight primary publications on the effectiveness of the procedure. The evidence shows a majority of patients were pain free at 6 months and over a third were pain free at 1 year. The number needed to treat for complete pain relief at 6 months is 2. The evidence of effectiveness is of high quality according to the GRADE system. Twelve papers were found reporting unwanted effects, most of which are minor and temporary. No serious complications have ever been reported from procedures performed according to the published guidelines. The evidence of risks is of low quality according to the GRADE system.
CONCLUSIONS: If performed as described in the International Spine Intervention Society Guidelines, fluoroscopically-guided CMBTRFN is effective for abolishing zygapophysial joint pain and carries only minor risks.
PMID: 26359589 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]