[ RadSafe ] Fluoroscopy exposure question

S L Gawarecki slgawarecki at gmail.com
Wed Jul 25 23:46:08 CDT 2012

Hi All,

I have an actual technical radiation safety question.  My mother has had
two facet joint injection procedures to treat her chronic back pain.  Facet
joints are the small joints located between each vertebra, and a painful
syndrome can develop when one or more becomes inflamed or irritated from
arthritis or other causes.  The injection of a local anesthetic and a
corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medicine is guided by fluoroscopy.  This
can be repeated every two months.  She is contemplating another procedure
called radiofrequency neurotomy, which interrupts the nerves to the facet
joint by thermal denervation using a radiofrequency probe, again guided
using a fluoroscope.  This procedure has a longer-lasting effect.  Both
procedures are performed on an outpatient basis.  The facet joint
injections take 20 to 30 minutes, and the radiofrequency neurotomy takes 30
to 60 minutes.  The patient is then observed for 45 minutes of initial

Does anyone know the typical radiation exposures associated with these
procedures?  What questions should she be asking about the use of the

Thanks in advance for any information.

Susan Gawarecki

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