- Pulsed radiofrequency ablation
- RF ablation
- Radiofrequency lesioning
- Radiofrequency neurotomy
- Radiofrequency rhizotomy
Radiofrequency Ablation Benefits
- Pain relief compared to steroid injections lasts longer
- Relief exceeds that of injections
- It is a non-surgical procedure
- Complication risks are low
- Opioid or other analgesic medication is reduced
- Quick recovery
- Improved quality of life
- Relief can last six months to a year, and longer
Pain ReductionBefore undergoing radiofrequency ablation, a doctor must pinpoint the nerves causing the neck, back, or sacroiliac joint pain. They will perform a nerve block injection to determine if there is temporary relief from the pain. If there is temporary relief it means that the origin of the pain was found. This could qualify to become a candidate for radiofrequency ablation.
- A Medial branch block is performed to diagnose the facet joint/s that are causing the pain.
- A sacroiliac joint block is performed to determine if and which sacroiliac joint is causing the pain.
PreparationThe doctor will give instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. Instructions can vary from those listed, as every patient’s case is unique.
- Do not eat 6 hours prior to your procedure
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing
- Easy to put on shoes
- Have a designated driver for after the procedure
- Make sure the doctor knows about all medications, vitamins, supplements, and herbs being taken
- Follow the doctor’s instructions when taking prescribed and over-the-counter medications. This includes vitamins, supplements, and herbs
- Bring all medications on the day of the procedure to be taken with minimal interruption
The ProcedureThe patient will be positioned face down on the treatment table. Pillows are offered and positioned for optimal comfort. The area where the treatment will be administered is sterilized. The areas of the body not undergoing the treatment are covered with a sterile covering. Sedation could be utilized but not heavy sedation. More than likely it will be what is known as twilight sedation. A local anesthetic is injected into and around the area/s being treated. Because radiofrequency ablation involves electricity a grounding pad is attached to the calf of one of the legs. The treatment table is adjusted for the precise placement of the needles and electrodes. The doctor will use fluoroscopy or a real-time x-ray as a guide.
After the ProcedureAfter the procedure, the patient is sent home with a set of recovery instructions. An example could be:
- Keep the bandages in place
- Don’t take a bath or shower
- A shower can be taken the following day and the bandages removed
- Do not perform any strenuous activity for up to two days