Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
What is it and how does it work?
Radiofrequency Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat application to sensory nerves to stop the transmission of pain. This procedure requires the use of a specialized device and radiofrequency needles, placed alongside the nerve. The physician then transmits a small electrical current to make sure the right nerve is being targeted. RFA uses heat to disrupt the nerve’s ability to send pain signals, lessening the pain felt by the patient. The electrode is heated to 80°C and kept at that temperature for about 90 seconds to achieve ablation. Radiofrequency Ablation can provide immediate pain relief, decreases the dependence on pain medications and helps avoid major surgery.
How do I know if this treatment is right for me?
Before an RFA can be performed, a patient must first go through two Medial Branch Block (MBB) trials to ascertain that the right nerve is being targeted. Once two successful MBBs have been performed and cause the patient to feel reduced pain, an RFA can then be scheduled.
RFA is typically used to treat Axial Low Back Pain. This is facet-mediated pain secondary to Osteoarthritis of the spine. RFA can be performed in the Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar areas. It can help treat various conditions like:
- Migraine Headaches
- Cancer Pain