A radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally-invasive procedure used to alleviate pain through the use of radiofrequency (RF) waves. Radiofrequency ablations are also known as rhizotomies or neurotomies. The procedure involves producing an electrical current from radio waves that ablates, or burns, the nerves responsible for causing pain. It prevents the transmission of pain signals from the treatment area to the brain.
Radiofrequency ablations are most commonly used to treat chronic pain and other painful conditions such as arthritis.
Radiofrequency ablations are usually performed in a pain management provider's office or outpatient center that has access to imaging equipment. You may receive a local anesthetic and sedative prior to the procedure. Your provider will have you position yourself in a way that allows them use x-ray imaging to guide the needle in real-time into the correct area for treatment. The technique is similar to a diagnostic block, which is well tolerated by patients. Discomfort will be minimal and will resemble a feeling of pressure. Once the needle has been placed, electric current is passed through the needle to create a small, precise burn on the nerves causing pain.
The injections are usually given in the following areas:
After the injection, the area may be sore for several days. Most people return to normal activity within 72 hours of the procedure.
Typically patients report pain relief within 10 days of treatments; however, each person's body responds differently. Some patients report immediate relief and for others it may take from 2-8 weeks.
Generally you can expect the relief to last 6-18 months, depending on how your body responds and how quickly your nerves grow back.
Radiofrequency ablations are relatively safe procedures. Although there is minimal risk, potential side effects of RFA include:
These side effect are usually not severe but can last days to weeks.
RFA's may not be right for everyone. Discuss your options with your provider.
We offer an unparalleled patient experience, bringing together the best treatments with the top providers to serve rural areas across the country. Our unique patient-first approach is changing the face of pain management. Our talented medical teams are dedicated to guiding patients to the right treatments and the best plan of care. A customized, detailed treatment plan is created for each and every patient, including all surgical and non-surgical options, to ensure successful outcomes.
Patients may call our Non-Emergency Hotline to speak to one of our Registered Nurses about pain treatment options, or use our HIPAA Compliant eFax: 1.833.923.2295