Randomised controlled trial of cervical radiofrequency lesions as a treatment for cervicogenic headache [ISRCTN07444684]

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Abstract

Background: Cervicogenic headache (CEH) is a unilateral headache localised in the neck or occipital region, projecting to the frontal and temporal regions. Since the pathogenesis of this syndrome appears to have an anatomical basis in the cervical region, several surgical procedures aimed at reducing the nociceptive input on the cervical level, have been tested. We developed a sequence of various cervical radiofrequency neurotomies (facet joint denervations eventually followed by upper dorsal root ganglion neurotomies) that proved successful in a prospective pilot trial with 15 CEH patients. To further evaluate this sequential treatment program we conducted a randomised controlled trial Methods: 30 patients with cervicogenic headache according to the Sjaast ad diagnostic criteria, were randomised. 15 patients received a sequence of radiofrequency treatments (cervical facet joint denervation, followed by cervical dorsal root ganglion lesions when necessary), and the other 15 patients underwent local injections with steroid and anaesthetic at the greater occipital nerve, followed by transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) when necessary. Visual analogue scores for pain, global perceived effects scores, quality of life scores were assessed at 8, 16, 24 and 48 weeks. Patients also kept a headache diary. Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the two treatment groups at any time point in the trial. Conclusion: We did not find evidence that radiofrequency treatment of cervical facet joints and upper dorsal root ganglions is a better treatment than the infiltration of the greater occipital nerve, followed by TENS for patients fulfilling the clinical criteria of cervicogenic headache. © 2006 Haspeslagh et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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Haspeslagh, S. R. S., Van Suijlekom, H. A., Lamé, I. E., Kessels, A. G. H., van Kleef, M., & Weber, W. E. J. (2006). Randomised controlled trial of cervical radiofrequency lesions as a treatment for cervicogenic headache [ISRCTN07444684]. BMC Anesthesiology, 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2253-6-1

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