Twin Cities Pain Management
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Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), also known as rhizotomy, is one of the newest pain control techniques. In this non-surgical procedure, radiofrequency waves are delivered to certain nerves, with the goal of interrupting pain signals to the brain.

RFA targets pain from the facet joints, which can contribute to chronic pain in the neck or lower back, and the sacroiliac joints, which can contribute to chronic low back pain. RFA is done after the patient gets a positive outcome for 2 Medial Branch Blocks

Procedure

RFA is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require anesthesia. During the procedure, you will lie on your stomach.

Your doctor will numb a small area of skin around your spine with an anesthetic. The doctor will then use X-ray guidance to direct a special radiofrequency needle alongside the targeted nerves. To confirm proper position, a small amount of electrical current is passed through a probe placed in the needle to the targeted nerve. At this point, you may experience brief pain or a muscle twitch.

Once proper position is confirmed, more local anesthetic is given to the area where the RFA will be performed. This is done a total of 3 times on one side of your back or neck

The procedure typically takes 15 minutes

Recovery

After the procedure, you may experience soreness in the targeted area for a few days up to a week.

Although results vary from patient to patient, the effectiveness of RFA may last an average of 12 months and up to 2 years for some patients.