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Radiofrequency Ablation


What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

When your body hurts, not only do you want relief, but the most effective treatment possible. Our Pain Management providers have advanced training in treating your pain using radiofrequency ablation – a minimally invasive procedure for pain relief.

There are two broad categories of nerves in our body – sensory branches and motor branches. During an RFA procedure, the sensory branch that supplies the pain is targeted and burned away, specifically at the facet joint. RFA works at reducing pain in various areas, including:

  • Neck
  • Mid-Back/Low-Back
  • Knee/Joint
  • Pelvis
  • Nerve Pain
  • Arthritis

Following your procedure, pain relief can last anywhere from nine months to two years, which will help decrease the need for long term pain medication and other interventional procedures.

Commonly Asked RFA Questions

Does this help leg pain?

No, RFA does not help leg pain. Typically, pain in the legs happens from nerve compression in the low back from disc herniations or stenosis at motor branches, which are not burned in RFA.

Why can't I just get an injection?

Steroid injections are an option but will typically wear off in three months or less. With RFA, you can get 6-18 months of relief or more without repeated steroid injections.

Why doesn't this last forever?

The pain may come back because the nerve that are burned grow back. Sometimes when the pain does come back, it is not as severe as when you started the process. If the pain does return, you and your provider can decide if repeat ablation is needed.

How do I know if this is right for me?

A simple x-ray of the part of the spine that is painful is enough to tell whether RFA is right for you. Through imaging, any bone slippage or shifting in the spine will be shown.

Talk with your healthcare provider to see if RFA is the right treatment for your chronic pain. To learn more about radiofrequency ablation, Dr. Arpan Patel walks through the procedure and explains more about what to expect.