Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure used to destroy the nerves that are responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain. It is a procedure used to create a lasting pain relief for patients suffering from chronic pain.
The procedure involves using radiofrequency waves or heat to stop the transmission of pain signals to the brain by burning the nerves transmitting the pain signals. The nerves are responsible for transmitting pain signals from other parts of the body to the brain. You will feel pain when pain signals get to the brain.
Radiofrequency waves burn (ablate) the nerves responsible for transmitting the pain signals to the brain. You don’t feel pain any more since the pain signals no longer get to your brain.
Radiofrequency ablation is done after a successful nerve block injection.
Who is the right candidate for radiofrequency ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat people that are experiencing chronic pains in their neck and lower back. People suffering from neuropathic pain conditions, spinal arthritis, and other certain pain-related conditions can also benefit from radiofrequency ablation..
An individual will need to experience successful pain relief from a nerve pain receptor block injection before undergoing radiofrequency ablation.
Pregnant women, individuals with infections or bleeding problems are not suitable candidates for radiofrequency ablation.
How to prepare for radiofrequency ablation
Your doctor will review your medical history and ask some questions about your health and any medications you are taking currently. Your doctor will suggest the best location where the ablation will be done.
If you are taking aspirin or blood-thinners, you will need to stop taking them for days before the procedure. Inform your doctor of any other medications that you are taking or any allergies that you may have. Avoid eating any food or drinking any liquid for at least 6 hours before the procedure.
How radiofrequency ablation procedure is done
You will lie down on your stomach on a procedure table. You will be given a local anesthetic at the injection site to numb the area and reduce discomfort. You will need to be awake throughout the procedure to give feedback to your doctor.
With the aid of fluoroscope, your doctor will then direct a thin hollow needle into the pain area. Your doctor views the direction of the needle inside your body on a screen connected to the fluoroscope. A contrast dye will be injected so that your doctor can see the area more clearly.
When the needle is in the right position, a numbing medication or anesthetic will be injected. If you experience pain relief, a tiny electrode will be inserted inside the needle. Radiofrequency heat will be passed through the needle. The radiofrequency heat creates a small and precise burn. The burn destroys the nerves responsible for transmission of pain. This stops the pain from getting to the brain; hence you won’t feel any more pain. Multiple nerves can be burnt at a time.
After the procedure
After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room where the nurses will monitor you to make sure that there are no complications.
You will be allowed to go back home. Someone will need to drive you home because you are not allowed to drive for 24 hours after the procedure.
You may feel mild pain for up to 2 weeks after the procedure. You will be given pain medications to help relieve the pain. You may also experience some swelling or bruises at the injection site. Applying cold ice pack can help to reduce the swelling.
After 24 to 72 hours, you can go back to your normal activities
For how long will you experience pain relief after radiofrequency ablation?
You can experience pain relief for about 9 months to over 2 years. When the nerve tissue that was burnt start growing back, you may start to experience pain again. A nerve tissue may start to grow back between 6-12 months after the procedure. The procedure will have to be repeated when this occurs.
Risks or complications
Risk or complications that may occur include:
- Localized numbness
- Allergic reaction to medications used
- Temporary increase in nerve pain
- Neuritis neuroma
- Failure of treatment whereby some people might not experience pain relief
Are you awake during radiofrequency ablation?
Before the procedure, an intravenous line will be placed in a vein in your arm and a local anesthetic will be administered to you to make you feel comfortable throughout the procedure.
You will be awake throughout the procedure so that you can provide feedback to your doctor. The local anesthetic will only prevent you from experiencing pain and make you comfortable throughout the procedure.
Is radiofrequency ablation considered a surgery?
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive non-surgical procedure to stop pain. It is classified as a minimally invasive non-surgical procedure because it does not involve the removal of any tissue or organ and also does not involve cutting open the body.
What is the cost of radiofrequency ablation?
The cost of radiofrequency ablation varies depending on the location and specific provider. The cost of radiofrequency ablation ranges from $2,250-$4,000.
Does insurance cover radiofrequency ablation?
Most insurance companies usually cover radiofrequency ablation. Consult with your specific insurance company to be sure that your insurance plan covers radiofrequency ablation.
Apex Interventional Pain & Spine: Best radiofrequency ablation provider in Coppell, Texas
If you are experiencing chronic pain, you need to seek treatment from a reputable pain treatment and management clinic.
Apex Interventional Pain & Spine is the best pain treatment and management clinic in Coppell, Texas. We provide several different pain treatments and procedures including radiofrequency ablation.
By providing radiofrequency ablation, we are able to improve the quality of your life and ensure that you can continue with your daily work and activities.
You can visit our clinic or book an appointment online via our website.