Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is also known as rhizotomy or fulguration. RFA uses radiofrequency waves to heat nerve tissue, thereby reducing pain signals at the source. These heat and radiofrequency waves can block the transmission of pain by ablating (burning) the precise nerve that is causing the pain. This procedure effectively kills nerve tissue to provide relief from pain that hasn’t been responsive to other treatments. It can also result in longer term pain relief than nerve blocks or other types of injections.
This minimally invasive procedure is part of a pain management regime. By using electrical currents produced by radio waves, small areas of the affected nerve tissue are heated and ablated (burned) therefore essentially eliminating the transmission of pain signals from that specific nerve to the brain.
This treatment option is primarily used to help patients with chronic low back and neck pain. It’s a viable option for those suffering from facet or sacroiliac joint, or peripheral nerve pain – or any condition caused by the degeneration of joints from arthritis. RFA is usually only done once the determination has been made that the joints and/or nerves in question are the true source(s) of pain.
Benefits of RFA include that it’s minimally invasive – therefore patients are able to avoid surgery – allows for immediate pain relief, and there is minimal recovery time so that patients can get back to daily activity sooner.
Spine and Wellness Centers of America known as South Florida’s Best Spine Doctors are proud to offer this procedure outpatient in-office using the highest state of the art and sterile techniques.
To begin, a patient is administered IV drugs to relax them, as the patient must stay alert during the procedure in order to aid with placement of the electrode. The physician will then use an X-ray to guide two needles to the exact placement at the targeted nerve. The small electrode is then placed inside the needle. Following this, a tiny radiofrequency current is directed to the medial or lateral branch of the nerve for 60 to 90 seconds creating a heat lesion on the nerve.
The entire procedure lasts only 30 to 90 minutes. It may take up to two or three weeks before patients experience pain relief. The neck, back, or hip area may be sore for two to four weeks following the procedure. Pain relief can last for nine to 12 months.
Patients who are good candidates for RFA treatment suffer from the following conditions:
- Lower Back Pain
- Pain from spinal surgery
- Complex regional pain syndrome
- Peripheral nerve entrapment syndrome
While the ablated nerves may regrow, patients can repeat RFA treatment as it results in few side effects.
The team at SWCA is proficient at performing this innovative leading-edge procedure. Depending on severity of pain and location RFA may be a viable option for patients seeking an alternative to surgery or medication.
The professional team of experts at Spine and Wellness Centers of America serve the South Florida region with a wide variety of treatment options at their disposal. Conscious of each patient’s individual condition, a bespoke and tailored plan is the ultimate aim. Patients enjoy a holistic and tailored approach to make sure they are pain free and quickly return back to everyday activity.