Ognjen Visnjevac,1– 3 Frederick Ma,3 Alaa Abd-Elsayed4
1Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; 2Cleveland Clinic Canada, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; 3Spine Pain Program, Bloor Pain Specialists, Toronto, Ontario, Canada; 4Department of Anesthesiology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI, USA
Correspondence: Ognjen Visnjevac Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: The purpose of this translational review was to provide evidence to support the natural evolution of the nomenclature of neuromodulatory and neuroablative radiofrequency lesions for pain management from lesions of individualized components of the linear dorsal afferent pathway to “Dorsal Root Entry Zone Complex (DREZC) lesions.” Literature review was performed to collate anatomic and procedural data and correlate these data to clinical outcomes. There is ample evidence that the individual components of the DREZC (the dorsal rami and its branches, the dorsal root ganglia, the dorsal rootlets, and the dorsal root entry zone) vary dramatically between vertebral levels and individual patients. Procedurally, fluoroscopy, the most commonly utilized technology is a 2-dimensional x-ray-based technology without the ability to accurately locate any one component of the DREZC dorsal afferent pathway, which results in clinical inaccuracies when naming each lesion. Despite the inherent anatomic variability and these procedural limitations, the expected poor clinical outcomes that might follow such nomenclature inaccuracies have not been shown to be prominent, likely because these are all lesions of the same anatomically linear sensory pathway, the DREZC, whereby a lesion in any one part of the pathway would be expected to interrupt sensory transmission of pain to all subsequent more proximal segments. Given that the common clinically available tools (fluoroscopy) are inaccurate to localize each component of the DREZC, it would be inappropriate to continue to erroneously refer to these lesions as lesions of individual components, when the more accurate “DREZC lesions” designation can be utilized. Hence, to avoid inaccuracies in nomenclature and until more accurate imaging technology is commonly utilized, the evidence herein supports the proposed change to this more sensitive and inclusive nomenclature, “DREZC lesions.”
Keywords: pulsed radiofrequency treatment, DREZ, radiofrequency ablation, chronic pain, ganglia, spinal
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