Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery - Facet Thermal AblationThe joints that connect the spinal vertebrae are referred to as facet joints. When they degenerate, they can become swollen and tear and also pinch the spinal cord. Damaged facet joints can cause pain because they contain thousands of nerves. While facet thermal ablation will not reverse the damage caused by degeneration, it can alleviate severe back pain symptoms. When paired with light exercise and lifestyle changes, it can help prevent or minimize subsequent spinal conditions.
Facet thermal ablation is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that offers several advantages including short recovery times and minimal occurrence of scar tissue. Lasers are used to clean facet joints and remove nerves that are the source of pain. A fiber optic laser is used to fix facet joints in the spine. Requiring no general anesthesia, facet thermal ablation is a safe alternative to open back surgery.
Conditions Treated by Facet Thermal Ablation
• Facet Joint Syndrome
• Facet Hypertrophy
• Annular Tearing
• Degenerative Facet Joints
The Ablation Procedure:
A local anesthetic and sedation is administered.
A surgeon creates a small incision and inserts a small tube. The tube contains an irrigation channel, fiber optics and the laser. These tools allow the surgeon to conduct the procedure with minimal damage to surrounding tissues.
The surgeon removes bone spurs and any spinal disc fragments with the laser.
The surgeon then ablates the nerves in the damaged disc using the laser, reducing pain in the affected disc.
The surgical tools are removed and the incisions are closed.
The entire surgery takes about 40 minutes. Scarring is minimal and you will be able to return to your normal daily activities within a short amount of time.