Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation: Procedure, Effectiveness, and Recovery
Radiofrequency (RF) ablation, a minimally invasive procedure, is used for destroying the nerve fibers that carry the pain signals to the brain. By doing so, it can provide long-lasting relief for people suffering from chronic pain, specifically for people with neck, lower back, and arthritic joints issues. If you have recurrent pain and have good experience with a nerve block injection, RF Ablation might be the treatment for you.
Also known as rhizotomy, RF ablation is a minimally invasive and non-surgical procedure that uses heat for reducing or stopping the pain transmission. The RF waves “burn” or ablate the nerve responsible for the pain which eliminates the possibility of pain signals transmitted to the brain. It is usually used for treating chronic pain and conditions like spondylosis (arthritis of the spine), and sacroiliitis. However, it can also be used for treating back, neck, knee, peripheral, and pelvic nerve pain. There are several other benefits to this procedure as well, such as immediate pain relief, avoiding surgery, improved function, minimal recovery time, quicker return to the normal routine, and decreased dependency on pain medications.
This treatment is the perfect option for someone who has experienced pain relief after a pain receptor/diagnostic nerve block injection. It is performed using X-ray (fluoroscopic) guidance and must not be performed on people with infection, bleeding problems, or ones who are pregnant.
The treatment will begin with the doctor reviewing the medical history and imaging studies to determine the best location for the procedure. If you are taking a blood-thinning medication, you will have to stop taking it before the procedure. Make sure that you tell your doctor about all the medications that you have been taking. This is an outpatient procedure that lasts for about 15 to 45 minutes.
During the procedure, you will need to lay down on an X-ray table. The doctor will use local anesthesia for numbing the treatment area. Then, they will use a special X-ray called a fluoroscope for directing a thin hollow needle into the area that is responsible for pain. Through the fluoroscope, the doctor will be able to see the needle in real-time and ensure that it goes to the right location. There will be some discomfort, but you will feel less pain and more pressure.
Once the needle is put in place, you will receive a numbing medication. After that, an RF current will be passed through the needle for creating a small, precise burn known as a lesion. This current will destroy the nerve or a portion of it that is transmitting the pain and disrupt the signal that is producing it. Each site will take about 90 seconds to get burned. Doctors can burn multiple nerves at the same time.
Most of the patients are able to walk immediately after the procedure. There might be some pain because of muscle spasms or residual effects of nerve ablation, but it will only last for about two weeks. The pain relief from this procedure can last somewhere between 9 months to 2 years. In some cases, the nerve regrows through the burned lesion. If needed, the procedure can be repeated.
If you think that this procedure might be right for you, then you need to get help from the best. Germanten Hospital is the largest hospital in Hyderabad dedicated to Orthopaedics Trauma, Joint Replacements, Spine Surgeries, and Sports injuries. Germanten offers advanced treatments that cover operative as well as nonoperative management. In 2019, Times of India graded it as the Best Emerging Orthopedic Hospital. It was also named as the Best Orthopedic Hospital in South India by Economic Times 2021.
Germanten is a 250 bedded NABH-accredited hospital with HEPA suite laminar operation theatres for total infection control. You can get diagnostic facilities like imaging, radiology, pathology, and laboratory services in the hospital itself. Apart from critical care facilities and highly-advanced ICU, we also offer post-operative rehabilitation services as well.
The reason behind the success of Germanten hospital is Dr. Mir Jawad Khan, who leads the orthopedic team at the hospital. He has been committed to providing the highest quality of medical services to the people for more than 20 years. To celebrate his achievements and effort, he was awarded the title of Best Doctor by Shri Roshaiah Garu (Ex-CM of Joint Andhra Pradesh & Former Governor Tamilnadu) in 2018. In 2019, he was honoured with the Vaida Ratna Award by the Honourable Health Minister of Telangana, Shree Etala Rajendra.
So, if you have been suffering from chronic pain for quite some time and haven’t had any luck with other nonsurgical treatments, the RF Ablation procedure from Germanten Hospital is your best bet. To know more about the procedure, book an appointment at Germanten Hospital.