Treatments We Provide

Radiofrequency Ablation

physiotherapist examining a spine model

What is Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)?

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a pain-alleviation procedure. A radio wave-generated electrical current is used to heat a small part of nerve tissue, reducing pain signals from that specific point. RFA is a safe and effective method of treating certain types of pain. It is also generally well-tolerated, with relatively few side effects. At the insertion site, there is a minor risk of infection and bleeding. Your doctor can advise you on your specific risks.

Pain relief varies according to the source and location of the pain. It provides pain relief for 6 to 12 months. It can also provide pain relief for years. More than 70% of individuals who receive RFA experience pain alleviation. If necessary, you can repeat this procedure for prolonged pain relief. You may feel pain at the injection site for two weeks.

Why is Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) Performed?

Conditions Treated With Radiofrequency Ablation

It can treat chronic pain due to disorders such as spine arthritis (spondylosis) and sacroiliac (SI) joint pain. It can also treat:

  • Discomfort and pain in your neck, back, and knees
  • Cancer pain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia-induced facial pain
  • Pain in the limbs
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Cancerous tumors (to kill cells)


Pain Management:

Radiofrequency ablation can treat pain arising in joints (such as your knee) and is frequently associated with pain originating from your spine, particularly your neck and lower back (lumbar area of your spine). Nerves branch off from the spinal cord and run to the facet joints and sacroiliac joints in your spine.

Facet joints provide flexibility to your spine and allow back movements, such as twisting and bending. The facet joints are attached to two little nerves called medial branch nerves, which send a signal to your brain that there is pain coming from these joints.

The sacroiliac joints are located towards the base of your spine, just above your tailbone. Lateral branch nerves attached to these joints provide pain signals from the spine to the brain. Radiofrequency ablation treats the targeted medial branch nerve in the facet joints. It can also treat the lateral branch nerve in the sacroiliac joints.

How is Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) Performed?

Radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. If you are worried about the treatment, your doctor may use general anesthesia in addition to a local anesthetic drug. It can assist you in being quiet, steady, and peaceful during your procedure.

The area along the spine where the procedure is done will be cleaned and sterilized. Before giving a local anesthetic, the doctor may apply a topical anesthetic to numb your skin.

This procedure should be painless, although you may feel a prick and a sting with the first anesthetic injection. If you continue to feel uneasy, inform your doctor. Once you’re in comfort, the doctor inserts a needle. Your doctor will insert a needle into the area for radiofrequency ablation using fluoroscopic guidance. A little microelectrode passes through it to the targeted nerve tissue. A small electrical current is supplied through the microelectrode to ensure that the correct nerve is on the target.

If the microelectrode is perfectly placed, numbing medication is injected into the nerve before applying a heat-generating electrical current. If there is inflammation, the doctor may give you corticosteroids.

What To Expect After Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

It is painless procedure. If you experience pain, it could indicate that you need additional numbing medicine or the correct nerve was not targeted. So inform your doctor. Even though a local anesthetic is used during the procedure, you will require someone to drive you home afterward.

Take the rest of the day to relax and recover after the procedure. The injection site may be slightly painful. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) can relieve this pain. Ice packs can also help with any edema you may be experiencing.

Avoid exercise and heavy lifting for 48 hours. It is not advisable to operate heavy machinery or drive, and do not enter the water (for swimming or bathing). You can gradually return to normal levels of activity as you heal. It is not a major procedure. Your recovery should be quick and painless.

Most patients experience pain alleviation that lasts for months, although you can repeat it if your pain remains after three weeks. Your pain alleviation should persist for at least six months.

Improving Patients’ Quality of Life Through Personalized Care

If you’re struggling with neck, back, or hip pain or any other spine related issues, schedule an appointment with us today to get back to living your life the way you’d like to.

Common Conditions We Treat