Procedure for Radiofrequency Ablation

RFA is a minimally invasive technique. You will lie on your stomach or on your side for some neck treatments during the procedure. You may be given an intravenous (IV) line so that you can get sedative to help you relax.


Local anesthetic will be used to numb a small area surrounding your spine. During the procedure, the patient feels just minor discomfort. The patient remains awake and conscious in order to provide input to the physician. A mild sedative may be given, during the procedure.

The doctor will then direct a specific radiofrequency needle alongside the targeted nerves using X-ray guidance. That allows the doctor to observe the needle in real time on the display to ensure that it is positioned correctly.

What to expect during the treatment?

The patient is given anesthetic medication through the needle once it is in place. The needle is then pushed through a radiofrequency current to create a small and precise burn, known as a lesion. Most individuals experience nothing or a slight warm feeling throughout the procedure. You may feel some pain or a muscle wriggle at this stage, which the doctor will address with you at the time.

The procedure may take one to two hours, depending on the treatment site and number of treatments performed.

How effective is radiofrequency ablation?

Pain relief can last anywhere from six to twelve months. The relief may last a few years for some individuals. Others may only have temporary pain relief.

The nerve that was treated can regenerate. If this occurs, it usually occurs six to twelve months following the treatment. If necessary, radiofrequency ablation can be repeated.

The patient is taken to a recovery room for 15 minutes to an hour (if sedation was used) following the RFA, where his or her vital signs are regularly checked. A superficial burning pain with hypersensitivity, comparable to a sunburn, may be felt depending on the area treated. A mild numbness of the skin over the same area may occur occasionally.

You may experience pain for up to 14 days after the procedure. This is mainly due to the nerve ablation’s lingering effects. A quick recovery time is one of the advantages of radiofrequency nerve ablation. Patients can resume their usual habits within 1-3 days after the treatment.

Please arrange for someone to transport you home after the procedure because you will be unable to drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours.

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