Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation can provide lasting relief for those with chronic pain, particularly in arthritic joints, the lower back and the neck. 

 

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Generally speaking, if you have experienced pain relief from a nerve block injection, you may be a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation. The term “ablate” means to burn the nerve which is causing you pain, eliminating the pain signals to the brain. Radiofrequency ablation is considered a minimally invasive procedure, used to treat the following conditions:

  • Spondylosis (arthritis of the spine)
  • Sacroiliitis
  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Knee pain
  • Pelvic pain 
  • Peripheral nerve pain

The benefits of radiofrequency ablation are that you can avoid a surgical procedure and you usually receive immediate pain relief. In addition, there is little recovery time, you have less need for pain medications, and you can more quickly return to your job and day-to-day activities. 

Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure

You will be asked to lie on an x-ray table, then a local anesthetic is used to numb the treatment area. You will remain awake during the procedure.  A fluoroscope will be used to guide a thin, hollow needle into the area causing you pain, and, in some cases, a contrast dye may be injected to confirm the needle is correctly positioned. Most patients say they feel more pressure than pain during the procedure. 

Once the needle is properly positioned, a numbing medication is given. Then a radiofrequency current passes through the needle to create a small, precise burn, destroying the portion of the nerve which transmits pain. Multiple nerves may be burned during the procedure, with each nerve taking about 90 seconds from location to completion. You will be monitored for a short period of time after the radiofrequency ablation procedure, and you may experience pain resulting from the procedure for about two weeks, although pain relief is usually experienced by patients within 10 - 30 days.  

Potential Risks of Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation pain relief typically lasts from nine months to two years. In some cases, the nerve which was destroyed by the radiofrequency ablation can re-grow within 6 months to a year, requiring that the procedure be repeated. Potential side effects of the procedure include infection, allergic reaction to the medications used, localized numbness, neuroma, nerve pain and neuritis. 

Getting Pain Relief from Seattle Pain

If you suffer from chronic pain with little relief, it could be beneficial for you to speak to an interventional pain management specialist at Seattle Pain. We will evaluate your pain, developing a comprehensive pain treatment program which will allow you to get back to your life. If radiofrequency ablation is a good treatment option for you, we will combine the treatment with physical therapy and possible other traditional and non-traditional treatments to help you with your pain. 

Are you suffering from chronic and unrelenting nerve pain? 

Contact Our Seattle Interventional Pain Management Specialists

We understand that severe and chronic nerve pain can be difficult to control. At Seattle Pain, our primary goal is to relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. We believe in treating the whole patient – and not just the injury. You do not have to live in pain. Call us today at 253-944-1289 or complete a contact form today.

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