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Radiofrequency Ablation

Long-term treatment for "Axial Back Pain"



Radiofrequency Ablation

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?


Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure in which radiofrequency waves are used to produce heat on specifically identified nerves. The nerves to be ablated are identified through injections of local anesthesia prior to the procedure (Facet Joint Injection or Medial Branch block). By generating heat around the nerve, the ability of the nerve to transmit pain signals to the brain is destroyed, thus ablating the nerve. The pain  relief after radiofrequency can last from 6 months to 1 year.

Who needs this procedure?

Patients with back, neck or leg pain can get pain relief from these procedures. Patients usually undergo Facet Joint Injection or Medial Branch block before this procedure. The procedure takes about 20-25 minutes. Pain relief can last anywhere from six months to two years.

How is the procedure performed?

After numbing the skin with generous amount of local anesthetic, a special needle is advanced near the pain causing nerve under x-ray guidance. The pain causing nerve is tested to confirm the correct placement of the needle before the nerve is "knocked-out" with Radiofrequency Ablation.

What are the risk and complications?

It is generally a safe procedure. But as with any interventional procedure, it carries a small risk of potential complications such as bleeding, infection, leaking spinal fluid and injury to blood vessels or nerves around the spine.