Ablation is a method of treatment for chronic pain, which involves destroying individual nerves that are causing pain. By inducing a small lesion on the problem nerves, doctors can inhibit the ability of the pain-causing nerves to send pain signals. Ablation can be performed in a number of ways, such as radiofrequency, heat, cold, and chemicals.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment option, which uses radio frequencies to heat a needle which has been inserted into the nerve. A small lesion is caused, which blogs pain signals to the brain. The ablation can be used on multiple nerves to block pain signals and reduce chronic pain. Radiofrequency ablation is performed with a fluoroscopy, or a live x-ray, to provide guidance and ensure the needle is properly placed. Generally, a local anesthesia is used to prevent discomfort.
Before an ablation procedure, your doctor will identify which nerves require treatment. Using a nerve block test, your doctor will numb specific nerves until the pain-causing nerves are identified. Once the nerves have been identified, treatment can begin.
Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure Steps
- A sedative may be administered by an intravenous (IV) line.
- The area of the neck or back that will be operated on is thoroughly cleaned.
- A local anesthesia is administered, generally topically.
- The physician uses fluoroscopy to guide them as they place the needle along the medial or lateral branch nerves.
- A small electrical current is administered to verify that the needle is at the target nerve and that nearby nerves will be safe from unintentional treatment. The current may cause a brief twinge of pain and a muscle twitch.
- The targeted nerves will be numbed with a local anesthetic.
- Radiofrequency waves will be introduced to heat the tip of the needle. The heat lesion produced will disrupt the pain signals sent by the nerve.
- The process will be repeated for any other targeted nerves.
The entire process will take between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the number of nerves treated. Patients generally are able to return home the same day. Nerve regrowth may cause pain to reoccur in several months, making the treatment a temporary solution. Ablation treatments are typically effective for 6 to 9 months.
To learn if radiofrequency ablation may be able to help your chronic pain issues, speak to our Ft. Meyers pain management team. We are ready to help you find the best possible solution to help you live your life without pain. At the Pain Medicine Group, we are dedicated to your wellbeing, which is why we use the most advanced, state-of-the-art technology to help our patients. Let us create an individualized treatment plan, designed to address your specific situation.
Contact our offices at (888) 832-3597 to schedule an appointment with our team.