Factors determining the success of radiofrequency denervation in lumbar facet joint pain: a prospective study

Streitberger, Konrad; Müller, Tina; Eichenberger, Urs; Trelle, Sven; Curatolo, Michele (2011). Factors determining the success of radiofrequency denervation in lumbar facet joint pain: a prospective study. European spine journal, 20(12), pp. 2160-2165. Berlin: Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s00586-011-1891-6

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Background and aims Radiofrequency denervation (RF) of the lumbar facet joints has been shown to be effective in well-selected patients. However, long-term success varies between studies. We evaluated the influence of selected psychosocial and constitutional factors on the outcome of RF, expressed as the duration of pain relief. Methods This prospective observational study included 44 patients who received RF denervations at the University Hospital of Berne. Success was defined as at least 50% pain reduction 7–21 days, 6 months and 1 year after RF therapy. The Cox-regression analysis was performed to evaluate the influence of the following factors on the duration of success: age, sex, depression, work inability and previous surgery. Results Complete follow-up was available for 41 patients. The success rate 7–21 days after the denervation was 76%. It decreased to 32% at 6 months and to 22% at 1 year. The median success duration was 17 weeks (95% CI 10–26). The Cox-regression analysis showed a significant shorter duration of success for patients with depression (hazard ratio [HR] 2.97, 95% CI 1.32–6.65), previous surgery (HR 2.39, 95% CI 1.10–5.21) and number of treated joints (HR 1.95 for each increase in the number of joints, 95% CI 1.14–3.33). In bivariate analyses, only depression was kept to be significant. Conclusions Depression seems to be related with a short duration of success. Based on these findings, a comprehensive study is warranted to evaluate whether psychosocial factors have to be considered when recruiting patients for radiofrequency denervation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Intensive Care, Emergency Medicine and Anaesthesiology (DINA) > Clinic and Policlinic for Anaesthesiology and Pain Therapy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Streitberger, Konrad Markus; Eichenberger, Urs; Trelle, Sven and Curatolo, Michele








Jeannie Wurz

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:19

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 22:02

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https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/6075 (FactScience: 210969)

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