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A Retrospective Comparison of the Modified Shealy Technique versus the Australian Technique for The Treatment of Lumbar Facet Arthropathy


Multiple techniques exist to target nerves that transmit pain due to facet arthropathy, however no study has demonstrated a superior technique. This retrospective cohort study identified patients who underwent lumbar facet denervation, analyzing each patient's treatment technique, Modified Shealy versus Australian, as well as benefit. Pre-and post-procedural visual numeric scale (VNS) scores, and VNS score changes between the two groups showed no differences (p = 0.72, 0.06, 0.08). Patient reported benefit and duration of relief was greater in the Australian group (p = 0.012, 0.022). Male gender and no pain medication use at baseline was associated with decreased post-ablation VNS scores, while increasing age and higher pre-ablation VNS scores was associated with increased post-ablation VNS scores. Increasing age and the Australian technique conferred greater treatment benefit. The results of this study indicate superiority of the Australian over the Modified Shealy technique for the treatment of lumbar facet pain.

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