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

Authors Christensen TJ, DeBerard MS, Wheeler AJ

Received 20 January 2017

Accepted for publication 30 March 2017

Published 19 May 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 1207—1215

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S132853

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Katherine Hanlon

Tyler J Christensen, M Scott DeBerard, Anthony J Wheeler

Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan, UT, USA

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.

Keywords: radiofrequency denervation, facet joint, chronic spine pain, injured workers, non-operative pain treatment

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