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Is there any alternative for spinal fusion surgery?

Jul 2013
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Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
I am 42 and have had 3 back surgeries. I am in constant pain and my neurosurgeon is advising that I have a fusion. I have read a lot of negative comments about this surgery including the need for increased dosage of pain medication. I am currently taking 20MG of Oxycodone 4 times a day. Are there other alternatives to a fusion that may help?
Posted Tue, 4 Feb 2014 in Back Pain
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 20 minutes later
Brief Answer: Radio frequency ablation is an option. Detailed Answer: Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX As with any other surgical procedure, spinal fusion also has its pros and cons and may not yield a good clinical outcome post operatively in all cases. You have to discuss the issues with your treating surgeon. If you are not willing or prepared for a spinal fusion procedure and you are fed up taking daily analgesic medications, then a better alternative (in my opinion) for the treatment of Chronic low back pain which is associated with degeneration of facet joints from arthritis is RADIO FREQUENCY ABLATION (RFA). Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area. The degree of pain relief varies, depending on the cause and location of the pain. Pain relief from RFA can last from six to 12 months and in some cases, relief can last for years. More than 70% of patients treated with RFA experience pain relief. As with any medical procedure, RFA is not appropriate for everyone. For example, radiofrequency ablation is not recommended in people who have active infections or bleeding problems. Your doctor can tell you if you should not have RFA. Hope this information is helpful. Happy to help further Regards
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