Radiofrequency Ablations

What are Radiofrequency Ablations?

Radiofrequency ablations utilize heat to target the nerves that send the pain signals up the spine and into the brain—effectively blocking the brain from processing the pain signals transmitted by nerves in the spin.

This treatment is offered after two positive diagnostic block injections.

Common Conditions

Including pain caused by: muscle strain, injury, herniated discs, degenerative conditions (arthritis)
Including pain caused by: herniated discs, spinal stenosis, strained muscles, arthritis, fractures, and more.
Pain may be caused by arthritis, meniscus tear, or inflammation. Radiofrequency ablation for knee pain may be referred to as Genicular Radiofrequency Ablations.

How do Radiofrequency Ablations Work?

Prior to a radiofrequency ablation, you must receive two diagnostic block injections that result in significant and documented pain relief.

During the radiofrequency ablation procedure, a thin needle is inserted through the skin and into the targeted nerves in the spine. A small electrical current is passed through the needle, generating heat that damages the nerves and disrupts their ability to transmit pain signals. This procedure typically takes 20-30 minutes to complete and can be performed in an outpatient setting.

What are the Benefits of Radiofrequency Ablations?

The nerves will regenerate eventually, which may cause the pain to return. But patients typically experience relief for several months or more after a completed radiofrequency ablation.

An ablation is far less invasive than surgery, reducing the possibility of additional damaged tissue
The ablation provides almost immediate relief from discomfort, giving you the freedom to move without pain.

Find out if a radiofrequency ablation is right for you.

What to Expect

During Treatment

Step 1: Diagnostic Blocks
Prior to a radiofrequency ablation, your doctor schedules 2 diagnostic blocks.

Step 2: Radiofrequency Ablation
Based on the results from your diagnostic blocks, your doctor marks the exact location for the ablation and uses X-ray technology to guide the needle.

Radiofrequency ablations are only administered on one side of the body (neck or back) at a time. A complete radiofrequency ablation treatment may require up to 4 treatments in total, including the initial diagnostic facet blocks.

After Treatment

You may notice some discomfort, local bruising, or minor swelling after the procedure. These common aftereffects typically pass within a few days.

Most patients begin to feel relief from the ablation within 1-2 weeks, but exact timing may vary from patient to patient.

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Common Questions

What are the risks associated with radiofrequency ablations?

Radiofrequency ablations are considered safe and serious complications from this procedure are rare. However, some risks of radiofrequency ablation include bleeding, infection, nerve damage, skin sensitivity, damage to surrounding blood vessels and nerves, or allergic reactions. 

How long will relief from a radiofrequency ablation last?

Patients typically experience notable pain reduction for several months following treatment. But this timeline varies from patient to patient, and you may experience relief for longer.

How often can I receive radiofrequency ablations?

Radiofrequency ablations can be repeated as necessary depending on when your pain returns.

Find out if you’re a candidate for spinal radiofrequency ablation

Book your consultation today.