Radiofrequency Ablation

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What is Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is the ultimate advanced management available for relieving pain generated at the joints in the spine called facet joint related pain. Facet Joint pain can present itself in your neck upper back, mid to low back and sacroiliac regions.

Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up and ablate a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area. Web MD

Radiofrequency Ablation or RFA procedure also known as Medial Branch Block, radiofrequency rhizotomy and/or RF procedure. Radiofrequency Ablation technique uses electromagnetic technology at the speed of light combined with extremely high frequencies which is why the procedure is successful.

Radiofrequency Ablation Vs Corticosteroid Injections

RFA definitely lasts for longer periods of time than steroid injections. The good news is that if you had some good relief with steroid injections then the RFA procedure focused on the nerves that supply the joints of your spine called facet joints will afford you long-lasting periods of pain relief. Facet joints are lined with cartilaginous tissue which are very rich with sensory pain fibers. Amazingly your spinal joints or Facet Joints are only the size of a small finger nail on both sides of your spine but are capable of producing exquisite pain. Typically your interventional pain management physician will only suggest the radiofrequency procedure only if you have enjoyed pain relief from facet joint injections and are no longer working as well as previously.

Radiofrequency Ablation typically results in relief of your pain

The Radiofrequency Ablation procedure entails “heating up” the medial branch nerves that supply your facet joints with radiofrequency or electromagnetic frequency until they are unable to transmit pain sensation. Your spinal joints are supplied with nerve endings from 2-3 levels of your spine so RFA is performed one level above and one level below the level where you are experiencing pain

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Radiofrequency Ablation procedure can be performed as an in office procedure.
Your RFA typically will be performed in a pain management office setting utilizing a specialized type of X-ray called Fluoroscopy. Therefore your pain doctor knows exactly where he is placing the RFA probe instruments by X-ray guidance.
To make the RFA experience as comfortable as possible patients are encouraged take a few over the counter pain medication such as Tylenol about 30-45 minutes prior to the procedure. If you so choose twilight sedation it is available.
Radiofrequency Ablation is performed with you lying face down on a specialized x-ray table allowing the doctor to use fluoroscopic guidance for exact placement the RF needles(s). Radiofrequency current is then passed through the median nerves. Once your RFA procedure is completed and after a brief recovery and observation period you will be released to go home.

Obviously you had a progressive procedure performed and will be expected to “take it easy” for the day and quite possibly can report for limited work the next day. If you decided to undergo twilight sedation you will need a driver to drive you home from the facility and you cannot eat after mid night the night before your procedure.Your doctor will want to perform this procedure up to three times approximately 2 weeks apart depending on how chronic your condition is and the intensity level of pain you are experiencing.

What results can I expect from my radiofrequency ablation procedure?

There current research report that 50 to 90% of the time relief can last from 6 to two years. One research study indicated an average relief was approximately 1.5 years.

Why does my pain return if I have a Radiofrequency procedure?
Unfortunately the nerve endings that make up the medial branch may grow back and therefore produce pain again. The good news is you can have the procedure done again and can expect good results.

If you are suffering from neck pain, mid back or low back pain, that is not responding to conservative care, there is a very good chance that you could be a candidate for a radiofrequency ablation procedure.

Call (602) 456-7252 to schedule your Appointment TODAY!

 

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