Lumbar medial branch cryoneurolysis under ultrasound guidance: initial report of five cases

Adrian Kastler, Nikolaus Kogl, Hannes Gruber, Elisabeth Skalla, ALexander Loizides

Abstract


Aims: To assess the feasibility and preliminary results of ultrasound guided medial branch cryoneurolysis in the management of facet joint syndrome.

Material and methods: Between March 2017 and August 2017, a total of 20 patients underwent medial branch blocks, 12 of which were positive. Five patients chose to participate in the study and 8 medial branch cryoneurolysis were performed. The primary endpoint of the study was the feasibility of the procedure. The secondary endpoint was the efficacy on pain assessed over the following year after the procedure.

Results: Technical feasibility of cryoneurolysis under ultrasound guidance was 100%. Accurate needle positioning at the accurate target in the angle between the posterior aspect of the transverse process and the lateral aspect of the facet joint was achieved in all cases. Needle progression could be depicted with US guidance in all cases. Mean pre-procedural Visual Analogue Scale and Oswestry disability Index scores were 6.8 (range 5-8) and 20.6 (range 12- 31), respectively. Follow up showed a decrease of Visual Analogue Scale score at one month (1.75, range 0-7), and at three months (1.75 range 0-3), Mean self-reported improvement at 6 months was 76% (60- 100%) and 77% at 12 months (50-100%). We report one case of failure at one month. No complications were noted during or after the procedure.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that ultrasound is a valid imaging modality to perform lumbar medial branch cryoneurolysis. Initial results show that cryoneurolysis under ultrasound guidance appears as a safe and effective procedure in patients suffering for facet joint pain


Keywords


ultrasound guidance; facet block; facet denervation; low back pain; cryoneurolysis

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11152/mu-2529

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