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Spine & Pain Management in Anderson, Easley, Greenville, Upstate SC

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Nerve Ablations

Radio Frequency Lesioning is a procedure that sends radio waves (heat) through a needle to damage small sensory nerve endings and interrupt pain signals. The procedure is only recommended to those patients who have failed other pain treatments such as nerve blocks and/or medication. Radio frequency is considered quite effective. Some patients report pain relief up to two years after the procedure. Since nerve endings have a tendency to grow back, the pain will probably return at some time in the future. Fortunately, the procedure can be repeated if necessary.



Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment where radio waves are used to create heat and destroy a part of a nerve. This could be done either by continuous or intermittent methods. If the energy is delivered as intermittent pulses, the tissue barely heats, yet conduction of signals along the nerve is interrupted anyway (pulsed RF). RF destroys the electrical conduction along nerves for 3-18 months. It appears to cause fewer side effects (painful dysesthesias) when used on unmyelinated peripheral nerves such as those to the facet joints. It is also useful on discrete sensory cell bodies such as the dorsal root ganglia of the peripheral nerve roots and the trigeminal ganglion of the cranial nerves giving sensation to the face. In addition, sympathetic nerves are amenable to the RF procedure. These include the grey ramus communicans RF for spine compression fracture pain treatment and splanchnic nerve RF for abdominal pain.


We perform RF lesioning for the following conditions:


What Are the Risks of Radiofrequency Ablation?

As with any medical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with radiofrequency ablation. These include bleeding, infections, worsening of pain symptoms, discomfort at the point of injection, and motor nerve damage (rare).

Potential side effects of radiofrequency nerve ablation include: