SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • cervicogenic headache;
  • occipital neuralgia;
  • radiofrequency ablation;
  • C2 dorsal root ganglion;
  • third occipital nerve

Objective

This article investigates the degree and duration of pain relief from cervicogenic headaches or occipital neuralgia following treatment with radiofrequency ablation of the C2 dorsal root ganglion and/or third occipital nerves. It also addresses the procedure's complication rate and patient's willingness to repeat the procedure if severe symptoms recur.

Methods

This is a single-center retrospective observational study of 40 patients with refractory cervicogenic headaches and or occipital neuralgia. Patients were all referred by a headache specialty clinic for evaluation for radiofrequency ablation of the C2 dorsal root ganglion and/or third occipital nerves. After treatment, patients were followed for a minimum of 6 months to a year. Patient demographics and the results of radiofrequency ablation were recorded on the same day, after 3-4 days, and at 6 months to 1 year following treatment.

Results

Thirty-five percent of patients reported 100% pain relief and 70% reported 80% or greater pain relief. The mean duration of improvement is 22.35 weeks. Complication rate was 12-13%. 92.5% of patients reported they would undergo the procedure again if severe symptoms returned.

Conclusions

Radiofrequency ablation of the C2 dorsal root ganglion and/or third occipital nerve can provide many months of greater than 50% pain relief in the vast majority of recipients with an expected length of symptom improvement of 5-6 months.