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      Outcomes and prognostic variables of radiofrequency zygapophyseal joint neurotomy in Utah workers’ compensation patients

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          Abstract

          Purpose

          The prevalence of radiofrequency zygapophyseal joint neurotomy (RFN) has increased substantially across the past decade. Limited research exists that has examined pre-procedure predictors of RFN outcomes, particularly within workers’ compensation populations. The purpose of this study was to determine if pre-procedure biopsychosocial variables are predictive of outcomes in a cohort of compensated Utah patients who have undergone RFN.

          Patients and methods

          This was a retrospective cohort study consisting of a review of pre-procedure medical records and a telephone outcome survey. The sample consisted of 101 compensated workers from Utah who had undergone RFN. Fifty-six patients (55%) responded to the outcome survey. Patients were an average of 46 months post-neurotomy at the time of follow-up. Outcome measures included patient satisfaction, disability status, Roland–Morris Disability Questionnaire, Stauffer–Coventry Index, and Short-Form Health Survey-36 (v.2). Statistical techniques utilized included frequencies, mean comparisons, and logistic and multiple regressions.

          Results

          Forty percent of patients were totally disabled at the time of follow-up. Lawyer involvement, older age, and a positive history of depression were predictors of poor outcomes in logistic and multiple regression equations.

          Conclusion

          Presurgical biopsychosocial variables were predictive of multidimensional patient outcomes, and a high rate of total disability was observed. Additional research on the effectiveness of RFN for workers’ compensation patients is recommended.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Outcome measures for low back pain research. A proposal for standardized use.

          An international group of back pain researchers considered recommendations for standardized measures in clinical outcomes research in patients with back pain. To promote more standardization of outcome measurement in clinical trials and other types of outcomes research, including meta-analyses, cost-effectiveness analyses, and multicenter studies. Better standardization of outcome measurement would facilitate comparison of results among studies, and more complete reporting of relevant outcomes. Because back pain is rarely fatal or completely cured, outcome assessment is complex and involves multiple dimensions. These include symptoms, function, general well-being, work disability, and satisfaction with care. The panel considered several factors in recommending a standard battery of outcome measures. These included reliability, validity, responsiveness, and practicality of the measures. In addition, compatibility with widely used and promoted batteries such, as the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Lumbar Cluster were considered to minimize the need for changes when these instruments are used. First, a six-item set was proposed, which is sufficiently brief that it could be used in routine care settings for quality improvement and for research purposes. An expanded outcome set, which would provide more precise measurement for research purposes, includes measures of severity and frequency of symptoms, either the Roland or the Oswestry Disability Scale, either the SF-12 or the EuroQol measure of general health status, a question about satisfaction with symptoms, three types of "disability days," and an optional single item on overall satisfaction with medical care. Standardized measurement of outcomes would facilitate scientific advances in clinical care. A short, 6-item questionnaire and a somewhat expanded, more precise battery of questionnaires can be recommended. Although many considerations support such recommendations, more data on responsiveness and the minimally important change in scores are needed for most of the instruments.
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            An update of comprehensive evidence-based guidelines for interventional techniques in chronic spinal pain. Part II: guidance and recommendations.

            To develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for interventional techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic spinal pain. Systematic assessment of the literature. I. Lumbar Spine • The evidence for accuracy of diagnostic selective nerve root blocks is limited; whereas for lumbar provocation discography, it is fair. • The evidence for diagnostic lumbar facet joint nerve blocks and diagnostic sacroiliac intraarticular injections is good with 75% to 100% pain relief as criterion standard with controlled local anesthetic or placebo blocks. • The evidence is good in managing disc herniation or radiculitis for caudal, interlaminar, and transforaminal epidural injections; fair for axial or discogenic pain without disc herniation, radiculitis or facet joint pain with caudal, and interlaminar epidural injections, and limited for transforaminal epidural injections; fair for spinal stenosis with caudal, interlaminar, and transforaminal epidural injections; and fair for post surgery syndrome with caudal epidural injections and limited with transforaminal epidural injections. • The evidence for therapeutic facet joint interventions is good for conventional radiofrequency, limited for pulsed radiofrequency, fair to good for lumbar facet joint nerve blocks, and limited for intraarticular injections. • For sacroiliac joint interventions, the evidence for cooled radiofrequency neurotomy is fair; limited for intraarticular injections and periarticular injections; and limited for both pulsed radiofrequency and conventional radiofrequency neurotomy. • For lumbar percutaneous adhesiolysis, the evidence is fair in managing chronic low back and lower extremity pain secondary to post surgery syndrome and spinal stenosis. • For intradiscal procedures, the evidence for intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET) and biaculoplasty is limited to fair and is limited for discTRODE. • For percutaneous disc decompression, the evidence is limited for automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy (APLD), percutaneous lumbar laser disc decompression, and Dekompressor; and limited to fair for nucleoplasty for which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a noncoverage decision. II. Cervical Spine • The evidence for cervical provocation discography is limited; whereas the evidence for diagnostic cervical facet joint nerve blocks is good with a criterion standard of 75% or greater relief with controlled diagnostic blocks. • The evidence is good for cervical interlaminar epidural injections for cervical disc herniation or radiculitis; fair for axial or discogenic pain, spinal stenosis, and post cervical surgery syndrome. • The evidence for therapeutic cervical facet joint interventions is fair for conventional cervical radiofrequency neurotomy and cervical medial branch blocks, and limited for cervical intraarticular injections. III. Thoracic Spine • The evidence is limited for thoracic provocation discography and is good for diagnostic accuracy of thoracic facet joint nerve blocks with a criterion standard of at least 75% pain relief with controlled diagnostic blocks. • The evidence is fair for thoracic epidural injections in managing thoracic pain. • The evidence for therapeutic thoracic facet joint nerve blocks is fair, limited for radiofrequency neurotomy, and not available for thoracic intraarticular injections. IV. Implantables • The evidence is fair for spinal cord stimulation (SCS) in managing patients with failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) and limited for implantable intrathecal drug administration systems. V. ANTICOAGULATION • There is good evidence for risk of thromboembolic phenomenon in patients with antithrombotic therapy if discontinued, spontaneous epidural hematomas with or without traumatic injury in patients with or without anticoagulant therapy to discontinue or normalize INR with warfarin therapy, and the lack of necessity of discontinuation of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including low dose aspirin prior to performing interventional techniques. • There is fair evidence with excessive bleeding, including epidural hematoma formation with interventional techniques when antithrombotic therapy is continued, the risk of higher thromboembolic phenomenon than epidural hematomas with discontinuation of antiplatelet therapy prior to interventional techniques and to continue phosphodiesterase inhibitors (dipyridamole, cilostazol, and Aggrenox). • There is limited evidence to discontinue antiplatelet therapy with platelet aggregation inhibitors to avoid bleeding and epidural hematomas and/or to continue antiplatelet therapy (clopidogrel, ticlopidine, prasugrel) during interventional techniques to avoid cerebrovascular and cardiovascular thromboembolic fatalities. • There is limited evidence in reference to newer antithrombotic agents dabigatran (Pradaxa) and rivaroxan (Xarelto) to discontinue to avoid bleeding and epidural hematomas and are continued during interventional techniques to avoid cerebrovascular and cardiovascular thromboembolic events. Evidence is fair to good for 62% of diagnostic and 52% of therapeutic interventions assessed. The authors are solely responsible for the content of this article. No statement on this article should be construed as an official position of ASIPP. The guidelines do not represent "standard of care."
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              Prevalence of facet joint pain in chronic spinal pain of cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions

              Background Facet joints are a clinically important source of chronic cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine pain. The purpose of this study was to systematically evaluate the prevalence of facet joint pain by spinal region in patients with chronic spine pain referred to an interventional pain management practice. Methods Five hundred consecutive patients with chronic, non-specific spine pain were evaluated. The prevalence of facet joint pain was determined using controlled comparative local anesthetic blocks (1% lidocaine or 1% lidocaine followed by 0.25% bupivacaine), in accordance with the criteria established by the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP). The study was performed in the United States in a non-university based ambulatory interventional pain management setting. Results The prevalence of facet joint pain in patients with chronic cervical spine pain was 55% 5(95% CI, 49% – 61%), with thoracic spine pain was 42% (95% CI, 30% – 53%), and in with lumbar spine pain was 31% (95% CI, 27% – 36%). The false-positive rate with single blocks with lidocaine was 63% (95% CI, 54% – 72%) in the cervical spine, 55% (95% CI, 39% – 78%) in the thoracic spine, and 27% (95% CI, 22% – 32%) in the lumbar spine. Conclusion This study demonstrated that in an interventional pain management setting, facet joints are clinically important spinal pain generators in a significant proportion of patients with chronic spinal pain. Because these patients typically have failed conservative management, including physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and analgesics, they may benefit from specific interventions designed to manage facet joint pain.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                1178-7090
                2017
                19 May 2017
                : 10
                : 1207-1215
                Affiliations
                Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: M Scott DeBerard, Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-2810, USA, Tel +1 435 797 1462, Fax +1 435 797 1448, Email scott.deberard@ 123456usu.edu
                Article
                jpr-10-1207
                10.2147/JPR.S132853
                5449129
                © 2017 Christensen et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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