Why would you need Radiofrequency Ablation
If you suffer from
- Chronic low back pain
- Chronic Neck pain
- Chronic Knee Pain
How does it work
When a joint is injured or becomes painful, the pain signals from that particular joint travel across small sensory nerves. The pain information is then relayed to higher centres in the brain.
The injury may involve different structures of the joint including the joint cartilage, the capsule or the ligaments surrounding the joint. It can also lead to chronic muscle spasms.
The radiofrequency ablation uses high-frequency radio waves that stop the small sensory nerves from transmitting the pain signals from the joints ( from the spine or other joints like the knee joint)
The procedure is performed by inserting a small needle through the skin down to the target nerves. That is guided by X ray or Ultrasound to the correct site. Once the position is confirmed further tests are performed to check for the sensory, then a short pulse of radio waves at a high frequency produces heat around the nerves to stop it transmitting pain signals.
What happens before the procedure?
You will be assessed by the pain consultant for a detailed history taking and examination to ensure that you are the right candidate for this treatment. There might be a need for further investigations such as X rays Or MRI scans to assess the severity of your condition. You will be offered full information about this treatment and future management which will include a graded exercise program to help you to restore your function and mobility.
What happens during the procedure?
The procedure is done under local anaesthetic or light sedation. It takes between 30-45 minutes. Your skin will be sterilised, after which the Radiofrequency needles will be placed under X ray guidance. Radiofrequency waves will be applied for 2-3 minutes at each nerve location. Following the procedure, a dressing will be placed over the injection site, you will spend 30-60 minutes in recovery before being discharged.
Radiofrequency nerve ablation is relatively safe procedure with minimal risk of complications. The risks reported in the literature include: a temporary increase in nerve pain, temporary localized numbness for a few days. Rare risks include bruising or infection at the site of the procedure.