Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure which aims to reduce low-back pain, neck pain, and pain related to the degeneration of joints from arthritis.
AN ELECTRICAL CURRENT PRODUCED BY A RADIO WAVE HEATS A SMALL AREA OF NERVE TISSUE AND DURING THAT PROCESS DECREASES PAIN SIGNALS FROM THAT AREA.
Radiofrequency ablation works by introducing an electrical current produced by a radio wave to an area of nerve tissue. The current heats up a small area of the nerve tissue which results in a lesion. This process decreases pain signals from that specific area. Radiofrequency ablation is usually performed with local anesthetic and mild sedation. The procedure generally only takes 30 minutes. If you’re seeking help for pain management, please contact us to schedule a detailed evaluation at 347.252.6732 or book your appointment online today.
TYPICAL BENEFITS OF RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION
- Longer lasting pain relief in comparison to steroid injections.
- Reduction or relief of pain.
- Improved range of motion.
- Short recovery time.
- Reduction in pain medication.
- Targets nerve parts of the spinal column sending pain signals to the brain.
- Semi-permanent disturbance of the pain signals.
- Reduced need for anesthesia as this has a reduced degree of nerve damage.
- Pain-free benefits of 6 to 12 months on average. Some patients claim pain relief for up to 2 years.
- Decreases the pain from severe knee arthritis without needing a knee replacement.
YOUR RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION PROCEDURE
Intravenous sedation is recommended, you will be monitored by an Anesthesiologist or Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. Your physician begins by cleaning the skin over the injection site and injecting a local anesthetic to numb your skin. Another needle is placed through the numb tissue under fluoroscopy, which is a live X-ray used to help guide the injection to the precise target location. After proper needle placement is confirmed, a small electrical current is sent through the needle to ensure it is near the target nerve. Pulsed radiofrequency ablation is performed in intervals of high voltage current of 20 milliseconds, at a temperature between 104 and 107.8 degrees Fahrenheit which weakens the membrane target area. Your nerves are continuously numbed to minimize pain while the lesion is being created. This lesion disrupts the nerve’s ability to send pain signals. The process is repeated for additional nerves with a goal of destroying the nerves and the signals that are sent to the brain.
RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION ON THE KNEE
When Radiofrequency Ablation is performed on the knee, the procedure is done via small needles around the knee capsule. Three needles are inserted around the outside of the knee near the genicular nerves. These nerves are then ablated to help decrease pain from moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis. There is minimal recovery time and no incisions needed for long-term pain relief.
RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION ON THE NECK AND BACK
When Radiofrequency Ablation is performed on the back and neck, a small needle is placed near the medial branch nerve that innervates the targeted facet joint. Sensory and motor stimulation is done in order to confirm appropriate placement of the needle. After live fluoroscopic X-ray pictures are taken and appropriate stimulation patterns, thermal radiofrequency ablation is performed to cauterize the nerve. After the ablation has been performed, a local anesthetic and a steroid medication unless otherwise indicated, are injected to help aide in post-procedural pain.
CONDITIONS TREATED WITH RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION
At first, Radiofrequency Ablation was used primarily to treat lumbar facet joint pain, bone spurs, and tumors. It is now utilized for a variety of conditions including:
- Lumbar degenerative disc disease.
- Neck, back, and pain related to joints from arthritis.
- General arthritis pain.
- Chronic lower back pain.
- Facet joint pain.
- Facet arthritis/arthropathy.
- Chronic neck pain.
- Cervical degenerative disc disease.
- Knee osteoarthritis (OA) and degeneration.
- Postherpetic neuralgia.
- Sacroiliac joint pain.