Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive pain management strategy that uses heat energy to block pain signals. The heat comes from radio waves delivered through a thin needle affixed with a microelectrode. The procedure is done in-office, and you go home the same day to recover.
The RFA energy blocks the signals from your nerves that would normally tell your brain you’re feeling pain. The procedure offers significant, long-lasting relief for 9-12 months.
Radiofrequency ablation is minimally invasive and may help you avoid surgery. It also causes no scarring and has a low risk of complications. You recover quickly and need no general anesthesia to undergo RFA therapy.
People with chronic back pain, joint pain, or neck pain are good candidates for RFA. Radiofrequency ablation is also effective for people with arthritis pain or peripheral nerve pain.
RFA isn’t usually used as a first-line pain relief strategy. When you come in for your visit, the team asks about the nature and severity of your pain and other forms of pain treatments you’ve used in the past.
Radiofrequency ablation is a relatively quick treatment, but plan to be at the office for several hours to allow for appointment preparation and proper aftercare.
Your provider numbs the area to receive treatment to ensure your comfort. You may also be given IV sedation to help you relax. They use a special device, called a fluoroscope, to take X-ray images to direct needle placement.
A thin, hollow needle is placed into the treatment area and guided by the fluoroscope images to find the correct treatment area. Your provider then passes a radiofrequency electrode through the needle to deliver RF energy and destroy the nerve or nerves causing pain.
If you’d like to explore how radiofrequency ablation can help you reduce pain and restore function, call Pain Specialists of Oregon to set up a consultation, or request an appointment with the tool on this website.