Radiofrequency Ablation or RFA
It is a way of interrupting pain signals arising from the Facet joint sensory nerve supply. An electrical current produced by radiowave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, resulting in decreasing pain signals from that specific area.
Clinical data shows that Radio Frequency Ablation can effectively provide pain relief for many months to years, the goal of the radiofrequency procedure is to prolong the relief sustained by medial branch blocks or facet joint injections. Radiofrequency neurotomy is only performed when the facet joints have been identified as a source of pain. Facet joints are located on the side of your spine, away from the spinal cord. Medial Branch Nerve is the sensory nerve supplying the Facet joints. Facet syndrome occurs when one or more of these joints become inflamed or irritated.
How long usually the procedure takes?
Medial branch RFA are performed on an outpatient basis. The procedure typically requires 30- 45 minutes, including preparation time and depending on how many levels are done. It is followed by 30 minutes of recovery time for observation.
How long usually the effect of this procedure last?
Radiofrequency neurotomy or denervation is usually effective after one treatment. The procedure may be repeated every 6 months to 1 year, if necessary. However, to maximize the duration of benefit, once the pain is relieved by the RFA
What to expect right after the procedure?
Radio Frequency Ablation can effectively provide pain relief for many months to years. You might experience mild discomfort in the back or the neck (depending on where the procedure was done). This discomfort can lasts up to two or three days, if it occurs. Apply ice to the area the day of the procedure and moist heat the day after the procedure if the discomfort persists.