Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area.
Which Conditions Are Treated With Radiofrequency Ablation?
RFA can be used to help patients with chronic (long-lasting) low-back and neck pain and pain related to the degeneration of joints from arthritis.
How Long Does Pain Relief From Radiofrequency Ablation Last?
The degree of pain relief varies, depending on the cause and location of the pain. Pain relief from RFA can last from six to 12 months and in some cases, relief can last for years. More than 70% of patients treated with RFA experience pain relief.
Is Radiofrequency Ablation Safe?
RFA has proven to be a safe and effective way to treat some forms of pain. It also is generally well-tolerated, with very few associated complications. There is a slight risk of infection and bleeding at the insertion site. Your doctor can advise you about your particular risk.
What Are the Side Effects of Radiofrequency Ablation?
The main side effect of RFA is some discomfort, including swelling and bruising at the site of the treatment, but this generally goes away after a few days.
Who Should Not Get Radiofrequency Ablation?
As with any medical procedure, RFA is not appropriate for everyone. For example, radiofrequency ablation is not recommended for people who have active infections or bleeding problems. Your doctor can tell you if you should not have RFA.
What Side Effects May I Have After Radiofrequency Ablation?
You may experience the following effects after RFA:
Leg numbness: If you have any leg numbness, walk only with assistance. This should only last a few hours and is due to the local anesthesia given during the procedure.
Mild back discomfort: This may occur when the local anesthetic wears off and usually lasts two or three days. Apply ice to the area the day of the procedure and moist heat the day after the procedure if the discomfort persists. You may also use your usual pain medications.
For more information on Radiofrequency Ablation contact Comprehensive Pain Management in South Kingstown, RI.