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Assessment of Pain and Paresthesia Improvement During Spinal Decompression Surgery With Bipolar Pulsed Radiofrequency

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Background: Many patients who undergo spinal decompressive surgery experience persistent post-decompression numbness for 1-2 years or longer, even in the absence of nerve root compression. This study assessed the efficacy of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) when being applied to the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) during lumbar decompression surgery. Methods: This prospective study collected clinical data pertaining to neurological examinations, comorbidities, and related medication history among patients who underwent dorsal root ganglion radiofrequency (DRG-RF) stimulation during spinal surgery. Intra-operative bipolar PRF was performed under direct visualization, and follow-up assessments were conducted at 2 weeks, 1 month, and 3 months post-decompression surgery. Results: Among the 25 patients enrolled in this study, only 2 cases of post-surgery pain and numbness were observed. Roughly 92% of the patients reported immediate positive effects resulting in an average decrease in pain of 80% (range: 50%-90%). All or nearly all patients reported satisfaction with the procedure at 2 weeks (n = 25), 1 month (n = 23), and 3 months (n = 23) post-DRG-RF therapy. Numeric rating scores at these time points were minimal, with median scores of 2 (range: 1-6), 2 (range: 0-5), and 1 (range: 0-5), respectively. DRG-RF therapy was also shown to reduce reliance on painkillers at 2 weeks (n = 12), 1 month (n = 16), and 3 months (n = 16) after decompression surgery. Conclusion: This study recommends the implementation of bipolar pulse radiofrequency during lumbar decompression surgery to reduce recovery time and enhance the quality of life of patients.