Effectiveness of pulsed radiofrequency treatment on cervical radicular pain: A meta-analysis

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Cervical radicular pain is a challenging medical problem in terms of therapeutic management. Recently, pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) stimulation on the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) has been used to control several types of chronic pain. However, its effect on cervical radicular pain is still not well studied. To conduct a meta-analysis of available clinical studies on PRF treatment in patients with cervical radicular pain induced by cervical spine disease that was not responsive to other conservative treatments.


A comprehensive database search was conducted on PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, and SCOPUS. We included studies published up to August 31, 2017, that fulfilled our inclusion and exclusion criteria. The pain degrees measured using visual analog scale (VAS) at pretreatment and after PRF on the DRG were collected for the meta-analysis. The Cochrane Collaboration's Handbook and Newcastle–Ottawa scale were used for the methodological quality assessments of included studies. The meta-analysis was performed using the Comprehensive Meta-analysis Version 2.


A total of 67 patients from one RCT study, 2 prospective observational studies, and one retrospective study were included in this meta-analysis. The pooled data of the 4 included studies showed that overall VAS after the PRF treatment was significantly reduced (P ≤ .001). In the subgroup analysis according to follow-up evaluation time points, the pain was significantly reduced at 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months after the procedure (2 weeks: P = .02; 1, 3, and 6 months: P < .001).


According to the results of the meta-analysis, the use of PRF on the DRG is effective for alleviating cervical radicular pain, which was unresponsive to oral medications, physical therapy, or epidural steroid injection.

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