Also referred to as a rhizotomy, radiofrequency ablation can be performed in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar areas to interfere with pain signals.
Radiofrequency ablation may be used in cases of:
- Cancer pain
- Arthritis pain
- Facet syndrome
- Chronic lower back and neck pain
How it Works
During radiofrequency ablation, radio waves produce an electrical current in order to heat up a small area of nerve tissue. This reduces the overall number of pain signals being transmitted through that area.
What to Expect
Radiofrequency ablation takes about an hour. Your doctor may advise you not to eat anything beforehand. X-ray imaging is used during the procedure in order to accurately target specific nerves. Your doctor will confirm the proper position by sending a small electrical current to the targeted nerve. You will feel only a warm, mild sensation.
Some swelling and bruising in the targeted area is normal, as well as some soreness. These side effects go away in a few days. You should have a plan for a ride home after your procedure, because you will be unable to drive for about a day.
Your results from radiofrequency ablation depend on the source of your pain. Your relief could last six to 12 months, and some patients report experiencing pain relief for years.