Radiofrequency ablation for pain


Refers to is minimally invasive procedure that destroys the nerve fibers carrying pain signals to the brain.

Also called rhizotomy.

It can provide lasting relief for chronic pain, especially in the lower back, neck and arthritic joints.

It is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to reduce or stop the transmission of pain.

Radiofrequency waves ablate, the nerve that is causing the pain, by eliminating the transmission of pain signals to the brain.

It is most commonly used to treat chronic pain and conditions such as arthritis of the spine and sacroilitis.

It is also used to treat neck, back, knee, pelvic and peripheral nerve pain.

Radiofrequency ablation benefits include: avoiding surgery, immediate pain relief, little to no recovery time, decreased need for pain medication, improved function, and a quicker return to work and other activities.

It is a treatment option for patients who have successful pain relief after a diagnostic nerve/pain receptor block injection.

Radiofrequency ablation is administered using fluoroscopic guidance..

It is not performed on people who have an infection, are pregnant, or have bleeding problems.

Patients who are take aspirin or a blood thinning medication may need to stop taking it several days before the procedure.

The procedure is usually performed in an outpatient, that may last 15-45 minutes, followed by a recovery period.

Local anesthetic is used to numb the treated area, and the patient remains awake and aware during the procedure to provide feedback to the physician.

A low dose sedative, is usually the only medication given for this procedure.

A heating current is passed through an electrode to destroy the medial branch of the sensory nerve to block the transmission of pain signals.

A radiofrequency current is passed through the hollow needle to create a small and precise burn, called a lesion, about the size of a cotton swab tip.

The radiofrequency current destroys the portion of the nerve that transmits pain and disrupts the pain-producing signal.

Each burn site takes approximately 90 seconds and multiple nerves can be burned simultaneously.

Pain relief is typically experienced within 10 days.

Pain relief may be immediate for some patients and take up to three weeks for others.

Pain relief may last from 9 months to more than 2 years.

It is possible the nerve will regrow, but is usually 6-12 months after the procedure.

It is 70-80% effective in people who have successful nerve blocks, and the procedure can be repeated if needed.

Has minimal risk of complications:temporary increase in nerve pain, neuritis, neuroma, localized numbness, infection, allergic reaction to medications used during the procedure, and/or lack of pain relief.

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