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Radiofrequency heating of painful annular disruptions

Finch, P.M.ORCID: 0000-0002-2717-054X, Price, L.M. and Drummond, P.D.ORCID: 0000-0002-3711-8737 (2005) Radiofrequency heating of painful annular disruptions. Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques, 18 (1). pp. 6-13.

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Although several studies have reported on outcomes following heating of annular tears with a thermoresistive catheter (SpineCATH), no data are available on the efficacy of thermal treatment with a flexible radiofrequency electrode (discTRODE). A prospective case-control study was conducted to determine the efficacy of radiofrequency heating of painful annular tears in the lumbar spine. After at least 6 months of conservative treatment, 46 patients were studied for the presence of single-level painful annular tears with magnetic resonance imaging and provocative discography. Thirty-one patients underwent heating of their annular tears with a flexible radiofrequency electrode placed across the posterior annulus. The remaining 15 patients, who mostly could not obtain funding for the procedure, continued with conservative management and acted as a control group. The Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Medication Quantification Score (MQS) were obtained before and at 3-monthly intervals after treatment. The VAS decreased significantly after the radiofrequency treatment, and this decrease persisted at 12 months of follow-up. The VAS did not change over 12 months in untreated control subjects. The decrease in VAS was significantly greater in the treated patients than the control subjects. The ODI also decreased in treated patients but not in control subjects. The MQS did not change in either group over the 12-month follow-up period. Radiofrequency heating of annular tears can lead to an improvement in the pain of internal disc disruption. The improvement gained by this treatment method is significantly better than that obtained from conservative management.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
Copyright: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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