Radiofrequency Ablation is a technique used to treat nodules and tumors in the body. It is also known as radiofrequency neurotomy, which helps reduce pain. In Radiofrequency Ablation, heat is used to destroy the tissues. For this, a small hollow needle with an electrode (that sends the radio waves through the needle) is inserted into the targeted nerve. In this method, heat causes lesions that help to prevent the pain signals sent to the brain.
Uses Of Radiofrequency Ablation (RA)
Following are the benefits of radiofrequency Ablation:
- Reduce or stop the pain
- Delay or avoid surgeries
- Improve the function of organs
- Prevent or minimize the use of medication
Disease Treated Through Radiofrequency Ablation (RA)
Radiofrequency Ablation helps treat the following diseases:
- Peripheral nerve pain
- Cancer pain
- Chronic pain caused by arthritis of the spine and sacroiliac joint pain
- Tumor cells
- Pain in the knee, neck, and back
- Heart arrhythmias
- Facial pain caused due to Trigeminal neuralgia
Who Takes Benefits From Radiofrequency Ablation (RA)?
Radiofrequency Ablation will be beneficial in the following cases:
- If physical therapy and pain medication couldn’t treat chronic pain.
RA will not be suitable for you in the following cases:
- If you have an infection.
- If you have bleeding problems.
- If you are pregnant.
Before Radiofrequency Ablation (RA):
You can expect the following things before Radiofrequency Ablation:
- Before the radiofrequency Ablation, your doctor asks about your complete medical history and the presence of pain.
- Your doctor may ask you to stop taking blood thinning medications for a few days before the procedure.
- He may order tests such as X-rays or another imaging test to detect the level of pain and the actual cause, such as arthritis and another spine injury.
- He may also ask for the diagnostic block to confirm the source and level of pain, which is helpful in treatment.
During The Procedure:
The Radiofrequency Ablation procedure usually takes 15 minutes to two hours, depending on the location and number of treatments performed. During the process, you may expect the following things:
- You must lie on a table for an X-ray.
- The doctor will monitor your condition during this process.
- The doctor uses local anesthesia to numb the area of the skin where the needle will be inserted.
- The placement of the needle is guided by real-time continuous X-ray called Fluoroscopy.
- When the hand reaches the right point, the doctor confirms the position of the treatment through a test.
- In this test, the microelectrode is inserted through a hollow needle.
- The doctor then asks you whether you feel a tingling sensation to get the right location for the treatment.
- A radiofrequency current is sent with the help of a needle to heat the nerve’s targeted location.
- The current destroys the affected nerve area and prevents it from sending pain signals to the brain.
- In this process, your doctor may treat more than one nerve if needed.
After The Procedure:
After the Radiofrequency Ablation, you may expect the following things:
- You are allowed to go home after some time with Radiofrequency Ablation.
- Avoid driving.
- When you return home, don’t perform anything strenuous for at least 24 hours after the procedure.
- After a day or two, you can return to normal activities, such as showering or bathing.
- You may feel pain, soreness, or muscle spasms for a few days after the procedure. Your doctor may prescribe some medication for this soreness and pain. Take these medications at the proper time.
- You can also apply the ice pack on the injection site for 20 minutes (two to three times) during the first day of recovery at home.
- You can also get physical therapy to regain strength and flexibility in your body.
- Some people get immediate pain relief, while some get relief after a few days or weeks of treatment.
- This treatment lasts from a few months to years; if the treated nerve regrows, the radiofrequency Ablation process will repeat.
- Do regular visits to your doctor to check the treatment progress.
Benefits Of Radiofrequency Ablation
Some of the benefits of radiofrequency Ablation are:
- Improve the functioning of the body.
- It helps to avoid surgeries.
- Short-time treatment, the patient can return to his normal activities after a day or two of the procedure.
- Reduce the need for pain medications.
- Helpful in giving pain relief.
Risks And Side Effects Of Radiofrequency Ablation
The complications risk in Radiofrequency Ablation is very low, but in rare cases, it may cause permanent nerve damage or pain. The patient might feel worse pain during or after treatment. Other complications may include infection and bleeding at the needle insertion site.