The efficacy of pulsed radiofrequency treatment of cervical radicular pain patients

Young Moon Yoon, Seong Rok Han, Seung Jun Lee, Chan Young Choi, Moon Jun Sohn, Chae Heuck Lee
Korean Journal of Spine 2014, 11 (3): 109-12

OBJECTIVE: Cervical radicular pain is defined as pain arising in the arm caused by irritation of a cervical spinal nerve or its roots. Although many treatment modalities are described in the literature, the available evidence for efficacy is not sufficient to allow definitive conclusions. The goal of this study was to establish the benefits and prognostic factors of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) on the adjacent cervical dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of cervical radicular pain patients.

METHODS: A retrospective study of PRF treatment of patients with cervical radicular pain was carried out. Two times diagnostic block of cervical DRG were performed before PRF. PRF was applied for 2 minutes at a setting of 2 Hz and 45 V by two times on the same targets, with the end point being an electrode tip temperature 42℃. Numerical rating scale (NRS) score was evaluated post-treatment 2 week, 1 month, 3 months and 6 months, which were compared with pretreatment value. A successful outcome was defined that NRS change was improved more than 50% at 6 months.

RESULTS: The mean age was 54 years. The success rate was 68%(15/22) after six months of follow-up. PRF induced complications were not observed. Between success and failure group, we do not find any positive outcome prognostic factor. Interestingly, PRF treatment on foraminal stenosis is better outcome than herniated cervical disc.

CONCLUSION: PRF on adjacent cervical DRG is effective and safe treatment option for cervical radicular pain patients. However, more long-term follow up and larger patients are needed to establish effectiveness PRF treatment on cervical radicular pain patients.

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