JOURNAL ARTICLE

Percutaneous pulsed radiofrequency applied to the L-2 dorsal root ganglion for treatment of chronic low-back pain: 3-year experience

Hsi-Kai Tsou, Shao-Ching Chao, Chao-Jan Wang, Hsien-Te Chen, Chiung-Chyi Shen, Hsu-Tung Lee, Yuang-Seng Tsuei
Journal of Neurosurgery. Spine 2010, 12 (2): 190-6
20121355

OBJECT: The authors assessed the effectiveness of percutaneous pulsed radiofrequency treatment for providing pain relief in patients with chronic low-back pain with or without lower-limb pain.

METHODS: Data were obtained in 127 patients who had chronic low-back pain with or without lower-limb pain due to a herniated intervertebral disc or previous failed back surgery and who underwent pulsed radiofrequency treatment. Their conditions were proven by clinical features, physical examination, and imaging studies. Low-back pain was treated with pulsed radiofrequency applied to the L-2 dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and lower-limb pain was treated with pulsed radiofrequency applied to the L3-S1 DRG. Patients underwent uni- or bilateral treatment depending on whether their low-back pain was unilateral or bilateral. A visual analog scale was used to assess pain. The patients were followed up for 3 years postoperatively.

RESULTS: In patients without lower-limb pain (Group A), 27 (55.10%) of 49 patients had initial improvement >or= 50% at 3-month follow-up. At 1-year follow-up, 20 (44.44%) of 45 patients in Group A had pain relief >or= 50%. An analysis of patients with pain relief >or= 50% for at least 1 month showed that the greatest effect was at 3 months after treatment. In patients with low-back pain and lower-limb pain (Group B), 37 (47.44%) of 78 patients had initial improvement >or= 50% at 3-month follow-up. At 1-year follow-up, 34 (45.95%) of 74 patients had pain relief effect >or= 50%. An analysis of patients in Group B with pain relief >or= 50% for at least 1 month showed that the greatest effect was at 1 month after treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this prospective analysis showed that treatment with pulsed radiofrequency applied at the L-2 DRG is safe and effective for treating for chronic low-back pain. Satisfactory pain relief was obtained in the majority of patients in Group A with the effect persisting for at least 3 months. The results indicate that pulsed radiofrequency provided intermediate-term relief of low-back pain. Further studies with long-term follow-up are necessary.

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