Endoscopic Rhizotomy: Relief for Back Pain Caused by Arthritis

You’ve been suffering for a long time with back pain from arthritis. Doctors have told you there’s nothing they can do or that your only option is major surgery. But, as far as Optim Neurosurgery’s Kevin L. Stevenson, MD, is concerned, that’s just not good enough. He believes that an active life free of spine pain may be possible for patients of all ages. “So many people have been told for years that there’s nothing than can be done for them,” said Dr. Stevenson, a board-certified and fellowship trained neurosurgeon. “They’re in constant pain and aren’t able to enjoy or even participate in their everyday activities. And just because a patient is 70-plus years old doesn’t mean he or she should live with this pain in their spine. ”

Dr. Stevenson offers patients who have arthritis pain in their back a simple, outpatient procedure that could significantly reduce their back pain and suffering. It’s called an endoscopic rhizotomy, which is a minimally invasive procedure for relieving back pain. During this procedure, Dr. Stevenson inserts a small probe into the patient’s back and cuts the tiny nerves that carry pain signals to the brain. He’s guided by a specially designed spine endoscope which is the diameter of a pencil and has a built-in camera lens. The procedure lasts about 30 minutes and the patient will be able to go home within the hour. According to Dr. Stevenson, the procedure is effective in about 80 percent of patients and will relieve pain for approximately 4 years. The procedure can then be repeated.

Dr. Stevenson is the only physician in the area who performs endoscopic spine surgery, and one of just two or three in the entire state. Before undergoing the procedure, patients are screened diagnostically to determine if the procedure could relieve their back pain. If it turns out the patient is not a good candidate, Dr. Stevenson and his team will do everything possible to determine the most effective options for them. “I can promise that you won’t find anyone who cares more about helping their patients and relieving their pain,” he said.

Endoscopic Rhizotomy Benefits:

  • Small incisions and minimal scar tissue formation
  • Less damage to surrounding muscle and soft tissue
  • Decreased blood loss
  • Decreased pain and need for pain medication
  • Quicker recovery and return to regular activities
  • Procedure can be performed on an outpatient basis
  • Decreased risk of infection post-operatively