Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that can be used to treat chronic back and neck pain. It is also increasingly popular for chronic knee pain.
Here are answers to some of our most common questions regarding RFA.
Also referred to as radiofrequency neurotomy, this procedure targets the pain-inducing joints in the spine or knee, most often in the facet joints of the spine.
Each vertebra has two facet joints. These joints support the spine and allow you to bend, flex, and twist.
Each facet joint, sacroiliac joint, or knee joint is connected to nerves that deliver pain signals to the brain. RFA aims to block these pain signals.
The procedure consists of inserting a microelectrode through a needle to pinpoint the exact area of pain. Then a small radiofrequency current is delivered to the nerve tissue, heating it up and blocking pain.
RFA can reduce pain by up to 70 to 80 percent, providing relief for 6 to 12 months.
Your pain management physician will talk you through your best treatment options and may suggest trying a nerve block injection before trying RFA. If nerve block injections work for you, RFA will likely work.
RFA is used to treat chronic pain including:
As a minimally invasive procedure, you won’t need to go to a hospital, but you will need to follow pre-and post-procedure guidelines.
The procedure is as follows:
Guidelines may be personalized, but often include:
RFA is one of many potential treatment options for injuries or health conditions that cause chronic low back pain, neck pain, or knee pain. Whether or not it is right for you is something you must discuss with a pain management specialist.
If you live in the Phoenix area, we invite you to reach out to Atlas Pain Specialists. Pain should not be a way of life, which is why we offer same-day appointments. It’s also why you are seen by Dr. Sean Ormond every time you visit.