Facet neurotomy

Facet neurotomy aims to treat pain resulting from facet joint disease, but it does not cure the condition and instead cuts off the pain signal from the brain by damaging the nerve. Different types of facet neurotomy are available, but the most common type employs radiofrequency needles to destroy the nerve tissue with heat generated by an electric current.

Facet neurotomy was first reviewed by the HTA program in 2014.

  • In 2018, a review of facet neurotomy medical literature was conducted to determine if newly available published evidence could change the original coverage determination. The technology was not selected for rereview.
  • In 2020, a second review of medical literature was conducted. The technology was not selected for rereview.

Status: Decision completed

Why is facet neurotomy being reviewed?

There are significant questions related to the diagnosis and treatment of facet joint pain including if it is safe, effective, and cost-effective and the most effective means of identifying patients who may benefit.

Primary criteria ranking

  • Safety = High
  • Efficacy = Medium
  • Cost = Medium


Assessment timeline

  • Draft key questions published: August 2, 2013
  • Public comment period: August 2 to August 16, 2013
  • Draft report published: December 19, 2013
  • Public comment period: December 19 to January 27, 2014
  • Final report published: February 24, 2014
  • HTCC public meeting: March 21, 2014