Radiofrequency Ablation - Trinity Surgery Center-1Also 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 - Trinity Surgery Center-2Radiofrequency 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.