What is Radio-Frequency Ablation?

Radio-Frequency Ablation is a procedure where the nerves are heated with electronic current to semi-permanently deaden the nerves. Before the patient is a candidate for this procedure they must have had responded well to a series of two Medial Branch Blocks. This procedure disrupts the conduction of pain signals given out by the nerves.

The procedure usually takes 20 to 45 minutes depending on the areas that are to be treated. Like most of the other procedures it is performed under fluoroscopy (X-ray guidance) for precise accuracy. Since the nerves can not actually be seen with the fluoroscopy the needles are aligned using the bones in your spine as land-marks. The procedure involves inserting a needle through the skin into deeper tissues and then onto the nerves. Most of the patients receive intravenous sedation to make the procedure easy to tolerate.

After the procedure the patient is expected to be sore. Most patients will fill discomfort for up to a week after the procedure. Usually ice will control the discomfort. After the soreness has decreased you should notice that the baseline pain has gone or is quite less.

This procedure is safe. However, with any procedure there are risks, and or side effects. The most common side effect of this procedure is a temporary increase in pain. Fortunately the serious side effects are uncommon.


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