Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a medical procedure we perform to manage severe chronic pain in patients. The procedure entails the use of radio waves to heat up an area of nerve tissue. RFA interrupts nerves conditions, which as a result interrupts the conduction of pain signals in the body.
The procedure is minimally invasive and usually does not require overnight stay. It typically takes an hour to complete. To avoid being a painful procedure, we use an anesthetic to numb the skin and deeper tissue. Patients remain awake during the procedure and in most cases, are free to resume to most normal activities 48 hours.
Preparing for the Procedure
It’s important that up to six hours prior to treatment, patients do not eat or drink anything. We do not recommend patients drive directly after surgery and instead wait 24 hours, so arranging transportation is important.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Patients are given an anesthetic that’s mild enough to reduce discomfort, yet keep them awake. A doctor will insert a small needle into the area where the patient feels pain. The patient will be asked to communicate with the doctor on any sensations they feel during the procedure. X-Rays are used to guide the procedure.
For more information, here are two questions we often get asked:
Q: What are the side effects associated with this procedure?
A: Side effects are minimal to none. Discomfort, swelling, and bruising on the treated area for up to several days after treatment is completely normal. Other side effects are uncommon, but if experienced should be reported to the physician who administered the procedure, right away.
Q: Is this treatment for me?
A: Since every person is different, it’s best to contact one of our doctors for consultation. They can help determine if this treatment is for you and/or what other options you may have for treating pain.
Typically patients who are more than 250 pounds, have an active infection, and are pregnant, are not able to get this procedure.
To schedule an appointment, contact us or call the office.