Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a nonsurgical method that addresses chronic neck and back pain. During the procedure, a surgeon will insert a needle electrode into your area of pain. The electrode will use an electrical current to heat a small area of nerve tissue, reducing the pain signals radiating from this area.
Does Radiofrequency Ablation Hurt?
While undergoing RFA, you will feel a slight prick at the insertion site and may experience light bleeding. However, most patients do not feel a high degree of pain. Following the procedure, the skilled staff at Alliance Orthopedics will take the utmost care to ensure that incisions are properly dressed.
Am I a Good Candidate?
RFA is ideal for those with conditions such as arthritis and frequent neck or lower back pain. RFA is a particularly effective solution to treating aches caused by joint degeneration.
However, radiofrequency ablation is not for everyone. For example, if you are prone to infection or atypical bleeding, you should not receive RFA. Furthermore, if you have diabetes, you may still qualify for RFA but will need to change your insulin dosage on the day of the procedure. Be sure to discuss with your diabetes physician if you are considering RFA.
How Long Do Results Last?
The effects of RFA typically last six to 12 months. However, some patients may find that their symptoms go away for years following the procedure.
Preparing for Radiofrequency Ablation
Alliance Orthopedics recommends taking several precautionary measures before each radiofrequency ablation procedure, including the following:
Do not eat six hours before your appointment. You may still consume clear liquids for up to two hours before the procedure.
Have someone accompany you to the appointment. You will be unable to drive for 24 hours following the procedure and will need someone to drive you home.
Continue to take your usual medications. If you need to take a pill during the six-hour pre-RFA treatment window, you can swallow a tiny amount of water. Talk to your physician beforehand to ensure your medication dosage will not need adjustment.