This treatment, preceded by a facet injection or medial branch block, uses radiofrequency energy to heat and destroy nerves that are sending pain signals to the facet joints.
Commonly Asked Questions About Radiofrequency Ablation
- How is it administered?
- An insulated needle is injected into the space right next to the facet joint nerves. Once in place, the needle heats up and destroys the nerves that are causing pain.
- How is it beneficial?
- It alleviates pain for 6-18 months before the nerve grows back, meaning longer relief for the patient.
- Is this procedure painful?
- For this procedure, we routinely place an IV and provide light sedation through the IV during the procedure. A nurse will be present to assist during the entire procedure. A local anesthetic is applied before the needle is inserted, but some pain may still be felt as the needle heats up next to the nerve. The treatment may be followed by a slight increase in pain for 1-2 weeks.
- What should I do following the procedure?
- Patients should plan a few days of rest following the treatment and enlist in physical therapy with an emphasis on a home exercise program.