Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a safe minimally invasive technique that aims to provide relief for patients experiencing neck, back, or joint pain that have failed conversative therapy. Radiofrequency ablation is a technique utilizing a high-frequency electrical current to produce thermal energy at the targeted site. This creates a lesion around the targeted site and nerve interrupting the pain signal.
Why is RFA used?
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive percutaneous technique that is used for patients suffering from neck, back, and joint pain. Many patients have undergone traditional conservative therapy including physical therapy and chiropractic therapy; however, are still suffering significant pain. In the proper selected patients, radiofrequency ablation is an alternative to invasive surgery and offers a short recovery time.
Is Radiofrequency Ablation a treatment that can be combined with other treatments?
Absolutely. Radiofrequency ablation is often combined with other treatment modalities in an effort to maximize outcomes. Treatment can often be combined with other forms such as regenerative medicine, physical therapy, chiropractic therapy, and conservative care. Treatment with RFA also allows the patient to more effectively participate in physical therapy and chiropractic therapy.
How is the procedure performed?
An RFA procedure is performed in a procedure room under very light sedation. Depending on the treatment location and technique, the patient will be lying either face up or face down on the procedure table. The treatment area is numbed with local anesthetic.
Then, using fluoroscopy x-ray imaging, the targeted areas are located and the skin is anesthetized. The specialized radiofrequency needles are then guided to the target area without any incisions. The electrode is inserted through an insulated needled and connected to an FDA approved radiofrequency generator unit. Sensory and motor testing are performed to optimize RFA needle location, patient results, and patient safety. Once verified, a high-frequency electrical current will travel through the electrode producing thermal energy at the targeted site and nerve resulting in pain signal interruption.
How long before I begin to experience pain relief?
Following the RFA procedure, patients may experience soreness and some soft tissue discomfort at the site of the needle placement. This discomfort is temporary and will dissipate over the following days to weeks. During this time, depending on the type of RFA performed, a patient will begin to feel pain relief over the next several days and weeks.
How long does a RFA last?
Radiofrequency ablation pain relief depends on many factors. Patient’s will experience different lengths of treatment with an average of 6 – 12 months. Some patients experience pain relief windows less while others experience more. During this time, the ablated nerves will regenerate. The procedure can be repeated if your pain returns.
Highlights of RFA treatment are:
Minimally Invasive treatment option
Targets the specific nerves causing pain
Pain relief lasting 6 months – 12 months.
No incision or scarring.
Can be completed in less than an hour.
Return to normal activities in 24 – 48 hours.
Conditions treated by RFA:
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