Editor-in-Chief: Alaa Abd-Elsayed, MD, PhD
BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency ablation is a common approach for treating axial low back pain stemming from facet arthropathy. Many well-published complications have been addressed in the literature. This case demonstrates a hardware malfunction and underscores the importance of vigilance toward protocols to maintain radiofrequency probes during sterilization and reuse.
CASE REPORT: In our case, the patient underwent a successful bilateral 2-level neurotomy. At the completion of the procedure, we removed all instruments and found that the probe was no longer attached to the connector. Multiple postprocedure x-rays were negative for a foreign body; the probe was later found in the cannula intact. This case report illustrates a rare potential complication for foreign body retention in an outpatient setting.
CONCLUSION: Appropriate maintenance and handling of reusable probes during sterilization and use must be exercised. Alternatives include the use of disposable probes and connector cables.
KEY WORDS: Radiofrequency ablation, foreign body, probe