Designed by VaniMedia for Spine & Pain Anderson, SC
Spine & Pain Management in Anderson, Easley, Greenville, Upstate SC
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:
Low back pain due to disc disease, facet arthritis
Headache due to occipital neuralgia, facet arthritis
Peripheral joint pain due to injury or surgical complications
Abdominal and pelvic pain after surgery, cancer or injury
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:
Rare, but possible, allergic reaction to local anesthetic
Bleeding and bruising; the effects are minimal and should disappear within days.
Infections, though unlikely
Post procedure soreness, extremely variable and dissipates within a few days