The Effect and Role of Steroids in Facet Joint Radiofrequency Denervation: a Narrative Review

Charles A. Odonkor, Ben C. Shin, Steven P. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose of Review: There is ongoing controversy regarding the role of steroids in facet joint radiofrequency denervation and its associated side effects. We reviewed the available evidence to ascertain whether steroids confer any therapeutic value, affect lesion size, or prevent neuritis among other considerations. Recent Findings: A review of the current body of literature identified a limited number of qualified studies and there is no general consensus regarding evidence-based justifications for steroids in facet joint radiofrequency denervation. Summary: Based on the current available evidence regarding the potential utility of steroids in facet joint radiofrequency denervation, we conclude that steroids may (1) play a role in preventing neuritis, (2) have a potentially negative impact on lesion size when given before denervation, and (3) theoretically provide long-term therapeutic pain relief in a small subset of patients. Further studies including multi-institutional randomized placebo-controlled studies are greatly needed to clinically guide the use of steroids in facet joint radiofrequency denervation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-185
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Reports
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

Keywords

  • Corticosteroids
  • Facet joints
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Radiofrequency denervation
  • Steroid injections
  • Zygapophyseal joints

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)

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