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Radiofrequency Neuroablation

    What is Radiofrequency Neuroablation?

    Radiofrequency Neuroablation is a modern pain control techniques. This non-surgical technique is also known as a rhizotomy. In this procedure, radiofrequency waves are transferred to certain nerves to obstruct the pain signals to the brain. Typically, it targets pain from the facet joints that can lead to chronic pain in the neck or lower back. It is a minimally invasive pain treatment procedure that is performed at a doctor’s clinic or office. You can go home the same day after the procedure.

    Who Can Benefit From This Treatment?

    The radiofrequency neuroablation technique can be used to treat multiple painful conditions. It may be recommended to people with any of the following conditions:

    How is the Radiofrequency Neuroablation Procedure Performed?

    Radiofrequency neuroablation is one of the most effective pain management techniques. With this procedure, the heat produced through radio waves is used to demolish the targeted pain-causing tissues. When it is applied to the targeted nerve, radio waves damage the nerves and prevent and stop pain signals from reaching the brain.

    Lumbar Radiofrequency Neuroablation

    The procedure stops the lumbar medial branch nerve from sending pain signals to the brain. It is performed to help patients with lower back pain.

    Cervical Radiofrequency Neuroablation

    This procedure treats shoulder, neck and upper back pain.

    Genicular Radiofrequency Neuroablation

    This procedure treats shoulder, neck and upper back pain.

    During this procedure, a small needle is inserted into the targeted nerve. Then, an electrode is inserted into the top of the needle to transmit the radiofrequency waves to the targeted nerve. It causes the nerve to stop sending pain signals to your brain. Meanwhile, other healthy nerves remain safe during the procedure.

    Types of Radiofrequency Ablation

    Radiofrequency ablation is one of the most effective pain management techniques.

    Based on an initial consultation with one of our specialist physicians, you’ll be referred for one of the following types:

    • Lumbar radiofrequency ablation: A procedure that stops the lumbar medial branch nerve from sending pain signals to your brain. It mainly helps treat lower back pain.
    • Cervical radiofrequency neuroablation: Treats your neck, shoulder, and upper back pain.
    • Genicular radiofrequency neuroablation: Treats chronic knee pain.

    Although this procedure involves radiofrequency waves being transmitted from needles to your targeted nerves, your other nerves remain safe and unaffected.

    Pain Relief With Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure

    The pain relief from radiofrequency ablation can usually be immediate or a few days following. This nonsurgical intervention can often last for 9-12 months, but it differs for every patient.

    There are some cases where this procedure has been so effective it can last for multiple years. After the nerves regenerate, the pain can return; in this case, the procedure can be repeated on the same nerve.

    To know more about this book an appointment with our board-registered pain management physicians. They’re known across Wisconsin for their work, research, and clinical experience – making them the go-to choice for chronic pain conditions.


    When Can I Go Home After Having a Radiofrequency Neuroablation Procedure?

    Usually, patients can go home the same day of the procedure.

    How Long Does It Take to Perform a Radiofrequency Neuroablation Procedure?

    The procedure generally takes 15 to 45 minutes. It depends on the number of treatments and the treatment location.

    Are There Any Risks Associated With the Radiofrequency Neuroablation Procedure?

    You may experience temporary numbness, burning sensation or some pain on the treatment site. It may last a week or two after the procedure.

    Is Radiofrequency Ablation Worth It?

    Radiofrequency ablation poses many benefits, such as immediate pain relief, little recovery time, reduced risk of surgery, lower need for pain medication, and a quicker return to work.

    Do Nerves Grow back After Ablation?

    If the nerves grow back, it takes around 3-12 months following treatment. It’s important to know that radiofrequency ablation is not a permanent solution, and multiple may be required over time to manage pain.

    How Successful Is Radiofrequency Ablation for Back Pain?

    Many people find this treatment to be highly successful for back pain. Often, relief can be immediate or a few days following, lasting up to a few years.

    Updated on Apr 30, 2024 by Dr. Thomas Stauss (Pain Management) of Pro Spine & Pain

    Thomas Stauss, MD

    Thomas Stauss, MD, completed both his undergraduate and medical studies at the esteemed University of Wisconsin in Madison. Dr. Stauss values having access to a wide array of cutting-edge treatments, ensuring effective relief for his patients' discomfort and a significant enhancement in their quality of life. Dr. Stauss’s primary objective is to uphold the dignity of each patient while delivering ethical and professional services.

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