Radiofrequency Ablation, or RFA, uses radiofrequency to disrupt nerve signals. This procedure is performed to prevent a nerve from transmitting pain signals from an injury. Once a nerve is treated using Radiofrequency Ablation, it is unable to transmit signals, but the nerve can heal within 1-2 years of treatment. This form of treatment is most often used in pain treatment for the joints between spinal vertebrae, or the facet joints.
Before your physician recommends Radiofrequency Ablation, you will likely undergo a series of medial branch blocks. These medial branch blocks will help diagnose whether or not you will benefit from a Radiofrequency Ablation treatment. If your pain is relieved after a medial branch block, you are more likely to benefit from Radiofrequency Ablation.
Radiofrequency Ablation has been utilized for decades in the world of medical science, and is very safe to use. The Radiofrequency Ablation procedure has no risks of weakness or paralysis, and extremely low risk for infection or neuralgia.
During the Procedure
First, a physician will numb the area of the injection with a local anesthetic. A contrast dye is then injected, allowing guidance of the needle using fluoroscopy. The physician will then position the needle at the proper nerve. Once the physician properly places the needle at the nerve, an anesthetic is administered, and radiofrequency energy is released into the nerve, disrupting nerve signals.
After the Procedure
After the procedure, expect to be monitored for about 30 minutes. You will be instructed to rest the day following the procedure. Full pain relief is expected after a few weeks.