Background: Confusion persists concerning the nature and efficacy of procedures variously known as facet denervation, lumbar medial branch radiofrequency neurotomy, and radiofrequency neurotomy or denervation for the treatment of back pain. Systematic reviews have not recognized the importance of patient selection and correct surgical technique when appraising the literature. As a result, negative conclusions about procedures have been drawn because lack of efficacy of one procedure has been misattributed to other, cognate, but different procedures. Objectives: To demonstrate how the rationale and efficacy of lumbar medial branch neurotomy depends critically on correct selection of patients and use of surgically correct technique. Methods: A narrative review and description of the available evidence, drawn from the personal libraries of the authors and from the bibliographies of systematic reviews. Results: Three studies, commonly accepted as evidence of lack of effectiveness, were not valid tests of lumbar medial branch neurotomy because of errors in selection of patients or errors in surgical technique, or both. Two descriptive studies and three controlled studies that used valid or acceptable techniques consistently showed that lumbar medial branch neurotomy had positive effects on pain and disability. All valid, randomized controlled trials showed medial branch neurotomy to be more effective than sham treatment. Discussion: Negative results have been reported only in studies that selected inappropriate patients or used surgically inaccurate techniques. All valid studies showed positive outcomes that cannot be attributed to placebo. Inappropriate conclusions have been drawn by systematic reviews that misrepresent invalid studies as providing evidence against the efficacy of lumbar medial branch neurotomy.