Treatments We Provide

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure used to alleviate chronic pain. It is a safe and effective treatment option for patients seeking relief from conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage, or other chronic pain conditions.

patient with back pain

What is a Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive medical procedure that uses heat generated from high-frequency electrical currents to selectively reduce pain signals from targeted nerve fibers, providing long-lasting pain relief for patients suffering from chronic pain conditions such as arthritis or nerve damage. The procedure involves placing a specialized needle-like electrode near the affected nerves, guided by real-time X-ray imaging, and delivering radiofrequency energy to disrupt the transmission of pain signals. RFA offers an effective and safe treatment to many chronic pain conditions.

Why are Radiofrequency Ablations Performed?

Radiofrequency ablations (RFA) are performed to alleviate chronic pain in patients. This procedure is typically recommended when other conservative treatments such as medication, physical therapy, or injections have not provided adequate relief. RFA is commonly used to manage conditions like arthritis, facet joint pain, sacroiliac joint pain, nerve damage, or certain types of cancer-related pain. By selectively targeting and disabling the nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals, RFA offers a minimally invasive approach to pain management. It aims to improve patients’ quality of life, reduce their reliance on pain medications, and potentially avoid the need for more invasive surgical interventions.
RFA Venom Lumbar

How is a Radiofrequency Ablation performed?

Radiofrequency ablations (RFA) are performed to help ease chronic pain and provide you with relief. During the procedure, you will be comfortably positioned, and a local anesthetic will be administered to numb the treatment area, ensuring your comfort throughout. The doctor, who specializes in pain management, will use real-time X-ray imaging, called fluoroscopy, to guide a small, thin electrode to the targeted nerves responsible for your pain. This electrode emits radiofrequency energy, which creates heat around the nerves, effectively interrupting their ability to transmit pain signals. You may feel a gentle warming sensation during the procedure, but it should not cause significant discomfort. The entire process typically takes around 30 minutes to an hour, and you will be able to go home the same day. Recovery is usually quick, and you can resume your regular activities within a day or two. The goal of radiofrequency ablations is to provide you with long-lasting pain relief and improve your overall quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions about Radiofrequency Ablations

Is RFA a painful procedure?
The RFA procedure is generally well-tolerated and designed to minimize discomfort. The local anesthetic ensures that the treatment area is numb, and you may feel some pressure or a warming sensation during the procedure. Most patients report minimal pain or discomfort.

What can I expect after the RFA procedure?
After the procedure, you may experience mild soreness or discomfort at the treatment site, but this typically resolves within a few days. Some patients may notice an immediate reduction in pain, while others may experience gradual improvement over several weeks as the nerves heal. It is essential to follow your doctor’s post-procedure instructions for optimal recovery.

How long does the pain relief from RFA last?
The duration of pain relief can vary among individuals. While some patients may experience several months or even years of pain relief after RFA, the effectiveness and longevity can vary based on the underlying condition and individual factors. If the pain returns, the procedure can be repeated.

Are there any risks or side effects associated with RFA?
RFA is generally considered a safe procedure. However, as with any medical intervention, there are potential risks. These can include temporary soreness, bruising, or swelling at the treatment site. In rare cases, infection or nerve damage may occur. It is important to discuss any concerns or specific risks with your healthcare provider before undergoing the procedure.

Can I resume normal activities after RFA?
Yes, most patients are able to resume their regular activities within a day or two following the procedure. However, it is advisable to avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting for a short period as recommended by your doctor.

Will RFA completely eliminate my pain?
While RFA can provide significant pain relief, it may not completely eliminate all pain in every case. The degree of pain relief varies from person to person. Your healthcare provider will discuss realistic expectations and potential outcomes based on your individual condition.

Is RFA covered by insurance?
Radiofrequency ablation is often covered by insurance, but coverage can vary depending on your specific insurance plan. It is recommended to check with your insurance provider and discuss coverage details with your healthcare provider and their billing staff.

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