What is disc denervation?
Disc denervation is a pain procedure used to treat chronic disc related or discogenic pain. Affected pain-causing nerves are heated and destroyed with radiofrequency. The heat generated from the radiofrequency modifies certain nerve fibers and blocks the perception of pain that is received by the brain.
Who is a good candidate for disc denervation?
Disc denervation is considered for patients who have disabling chronic pain, especially when due to a discogenic pathology and when conservative treatments have failed. Neck and back pain are the most common complaints that are treated with disc denervation.
How disc denervation works
In disc denervation, your pain physician uses a device to generate heat in order to dull the nerve that is causing the pain. Using a small thin needle, your physician will administer a local anesthetic to numb your skin and subcutaneous tissue. A radiofrequency needle is advanced under fluoroscopy or real-time X-ray to the desired location. Electrical stimulation is initiated through the needle, and your disc pain is duplicated. When the correct nerves have been identified, the nerve supply to the disc is denervated with radiofrequency.
This technique can destroy pain-causing nerves and minimize the effects on the surrounding structures. A band-aid is placed over the needle entry location after the procedure. The procedure typically takes less than an hour, and you are able to go home shortly after.