Medicine Lodge, United States
Medicine Lodge, United States

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Haufe S.M.W.,Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology | Mork A.R.,Spine Surgery
International Journal of Medical Sciences | Year: 2010

Study design: Retrospective, observational, open label. Objective: We investigated the efficacy of facet debridement for the treatment of facet joint pain. Summary of background data: Facet joint disease, often due to degenerative arthritis, is common cause of chronic back pain. In patients that don't respond to conservative measures, nerve ablation may provide significant improvement. Due to the ability of peripheral nerves to regenerate, ablative techniques of the dorsal nerve roots often provide only temporary relief. In theory, ablation of the nerve end plates in the facet joint capsule should prevent reinnervation. Methods: All patients treated with endoscopic facet debridement at our clinic from 2003-2007 with at least 3 years follow-up were included in the analysis. Primary outcome measure was percent change in facet-related pain as measured by Visual Analog Scale (VAS) score at final follow-up visit. Results: A total of 174 people (77 women, 97 men; mean age 64, range 22-89) were included. Location of facet pain was cervical in 45, thoracic in 15, and lumbar in 114 patients. At final follow-up, 77%, 73%, and 68% of patients with cervical, thoracic, or lumbar disease, respectively, showed at least 50% improvement in pain. Mean operating time per joint was 17 minutes (range, 10-42). Mean blood loss was 40 ml (range, 10-100). Complications included suture failure in two patients, requiring reclosure of the incision. No infection or nerve damage beyond what was intended occurred. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate a comparable efficacy of endoscopic facet debridement compared to radiofrequency ablation of the dorsal nerve branch, with durable results. Large scale, randomized trials are warranted to further evaluate the relative efficacy of this surgical treatment in patients with facet joint disease. © Ivyspring International Publisher.


Haufe S.M.W.,Pain Medicine and Anesthesiology | Mork A.R.,Spine Surgery | Pyne M.,University of South Florida | Baker R.A.,University of South Florida
International Journal of Medical Sciences | Year: 2010

Background: Discogenic pain or herniation causing neural impingement of the thoracic vertebrae is less common than that in the cervical or lumbar regions. Treatment of thoracic discogenic pain usually involves conservative measures. If this fails, conventional fusion or discectomy can be considered, but these procedures carry significant risk. Objectives: To assess the efficacy and safety of percutaneous laser disc decompression (PLDD) for the treatment of thoracic disc disease. Methods: Ten patients with thoracic discogenic pain who were unresponsive to conservative intervention underwent the PLDD procedure. Thoracic pain was assessed using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) scores preoperatively and at 6-month intervals with a minimum of 18-months follow-up. Patients were diagnosed and chosen for enrollment based on abnormal MRI findings and positive provocative discograms. Patients with gross herniations were not included. Results: Length of follow-up ranged from 18 to 31 months (mean: 24.2 mo). Median pretreatment thoracic VAS score was 8.5 (range: 5-10) and median VAS score at final follow-up was 3.8 (range: 0-9). Postoperative improvement was significant with a 99% confidence interval. Of interest, patients generally fell into two groups, those with significant pain reduction and those with little to no improvement. Although complications such as pneumothorax, discitis, or nerve damage were possible, no adverse events occurred during the procedures. Limitations: The study is limited by its small size and lack of a sham group. Larger controlled studies are warranted. Conclusions: With further clinical evidence, PLDD could be considered a viable option with a low risk of complication for the treatment of thoracic discogenic pain that does not resolve with conservative treatment. © Ivyspring International Publisher.

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