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Radiofrequency Ablation Performed in Houston, TX, Can Provide Lasting Pain Relief

A minimally invasive nonsurgical procedure, radiofrequency ablation uses heat to destroy (ablate) nerve fibers that carry pain signals to the brain. This treatment can potentially provide lasting relief from chronic neck, back, hip or knee pain, especially for a patient who achieved good results with a diagnostic nerve block injection. In addition to avoiding surgery, the potential benefits of radiofrequency ablation include immediate pain relief, improved function, no recovery time and less need for pain medications.

What happens during a radiofrequency ablation procedure?

When performing a radiofrequency ablation procedure, a physician will typically:

  • Numb the treatment area with a local anesthetic
  • Use fluoroscopy (real-time X-ray imaging) to precisely guide a thin, insulated needle into the proper position next to the targeted nerve
  • Inject a contrast dye to confirm the correct placement of the needle
  • Inject a numbing medication into the pain site
  • Place a tiny electrode in the needle
  • Use the electrode to create and direct a mild radiofrequency current through the needle
  • Create a small, precise burn that destroys the portion of the nerve that is transmitting the pain signals (if necessary, multiple nerves can be treated during a single procedure)

It can take several weeks for the full effects of a radiofrequency ablation procedure to become apparent, and the resulting pain relief can last for up to a year or even longer. Because the destroyed nerve tissue can potentially regenerate over time, the treatment may need to be repeated.

Radiofrequency ablation may be a good option for you if you have chronic neck, back, hip or knee pain that has not responded to other treatments, such as pain medications and physical therapy. If you have questions, the experienced team of orthopedic specialists at Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, can provide the accurate answers you need and deserve. Contact us today.