Radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a percutaneous procedure offered to select patients with debilitating chronic back pain. RF ablation is reserved for select patients with chronic neck or back pain from the spinal joints in the neck or lower back. RF is employed for those patients who fail more conservative therapies. Patients are determined to be appropriate candidates for RF denervation only after failing such treatments and then demonstrating a positive response to a confirmatory diagnostic injection screen.
How Does It Work?
The RF technique utilizes heat to denature the medial branch nerves that supply sensation to the affected spinal joint. As a result, the spinal joints are inhibited from transmitting pain. This procedure is similar to an injection procedure in that a needle type instrument is utilized and guided with fluoroscopic imaging to reach the target nerve and pain generator. Additional testing during the procedure is performed to ensure proper positioning in the body. As with all of our injection procedures, RF ablation is performed on an outpatient setting with the use of only local anesthesia.
Although RF procedures have been increasingly utilized by the spine community over the past decade, the medical literature supporting such use has only recently been established.
Our use of this procedure and procedural technique will be evidence based, and the technology utilized will be the most current to assure patient comfort, minimize procedure time, and maximize clinical outcomes.