Radiofrequency Ablation/Neurotomy

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a treatment option to reduce pain. Using X-ray guidance, we place special insulated needles near or on the facet joint nerve. We heat a small area of the nerve tissue using an electrical current. The heat disables the medial branch nerves which decreases the pain signals in that particular area. RFA is often used to treat pain associated with facet joint syndrome. It takes less than two minutes to heat and damage the nerve, but depending on the number of nerves we are treating, the procedure may take up to 1 – 2 hours. This procedure can be used for patients with back, neck, muscle and other pain syndromes.

The degree of relief varies, but more than 70% of patients treated with RFA experience pain relief, which can last from 6 to 12 months, or in some cases, years. It is a safe and effective way to treat some forms of pain, and has few complications. Participating in physical therapy will increase the strength of muscles around the nerve and lessen the level of pain. Sometimes the nerves do grow back, and usually the patient will not experience the same level of pain. If it does return, the procedure can be done again.

RFA is often used to treat pain associated with facet joint syndrome. It takes less than two minutes to heat and damage the nerve.

Participating in physical therapy will increase the strength of muscles around the joint and lessen the level of pain. Sometimes the nerves do grow back, and usually the patient will not experience the same level of pain. If it does return, the procedure can be repeated.

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