What is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?

Radofrequency ablation is a non-operative, minimally invasive procedure used to treat chronic pain. It is most commonly used to treat pain in the lower back, neck and arthritis of the spine. Patients who have experienced pain relief after a nerve block may be candidates for a Radiofrequency Ablation. A nerve block is considered a diagnostic treatment because it confirms the source of pain. Most doctors will recommend that a patient should initially try to treat their pain using physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications.

Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure

During this treatment which is also known as a rhizotomy, a doctor will numb an area where a needle will be inserted with a local anesthetic. Under the guidance of a fluoroscope (imaging device), a thin needle is inserted into the area where pain is felt. A microelectrode is inserted through the needle and a small radiofrequency current is sent, delivering heat to the targetted nerves. Th objective is to temporarily stop the nerve from sending pain signals. Radiofrequency Ablation is typically done on an outpatient basis.

The amount of pain relief will vary by the location and cause of the pain. Relief can last for anywhere from a few months to years. Nerves that were treated with RFA may grow back, and in those cases this procedure can be repeated. Radiofrequency Ablation typically relieves pain for a longer period of time than other injections.

Back Pain Management at The CMD

If you are experiencing chronic back pain, our Orthopedic Spine Specialist diagnose, evaluate and treat conditions and injuries that cause pain.

Our doctors take a patient-centered approach to treatment, utilizing conservative, non-surgical treatments as a first option. Most patients will be able to manage pain using a combination of non-operative treatments. If a patient is unable to manage pain using conservative treatments, surgery may be recommended. Our spine surgeons use the most current and advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques to reduce pain and restore functionality.