Facet Thermal Ablation

A facet thermal ablation is a procedure that is typically used to treat pain that occurs from arthritis in the spine. The procedure uses a laser to remove unwanted tissue from the facet joint and deadens the nerve in the joint that relays pain symptoms. The fact joints are located between the vertebrae, bony segments that compose the spinal column. Each vertebra has two facet joints, one on each side of the spinal column.

Facet joints are special joints that allow your spine to be flexible, letting you bend and twist your body. When these joints attempt to repair themselves, they may develop bone spurs, growths that can put pressure on the nerves of your spine, which may be causing your pain symptoms Thermal ablations is the use of heat in the form of a laser to destroy the nerve that is sensing pain in the joint.


  • Facet Joint Syndrome – Primary symptoms include pain felt between two vertebra in the spine – a joint pain. Also known as osteoarthritis.
  • Arthritis – General medical term for one or more joints experiencing inflammation. This inflammation causes a stiffness and pain that tends to come to people as they get older.


  • A small incision is made in the back using x-ray guidance
  • A round tube, called a depuy tube, is inserted into the incision
  • A laser is applied to the damaged joint through the depuy tube
  • The laser cleans (debrides) and destroys the nerve that is irritating the joint.

Because the procedure involved destroying the nerve that is causing you pain with heat, most patients that undergo facet thermal ablation tend to feel pain relief almost immediately. With our minimally invasive methods, no muscle tissue or nerves not immediately involved with the painful area are disturbed during the surgery. As a result, patients typically see a much faster recovery time with this procedure compared to a traditional open back surgery.

Doctor Marc Cohen is a recognized expert in minimally invasive spinal surgery. If you are experiencing pain from arthritis or facet joint syndrome, contact one of our New Jersey locations to set up an appointment and see if facet thermal ablation is the right choice for you.