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Ablation Therapy For Nerve Pain

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Ablation Therapy For Nerve Pain

Ablation therapy is a safe, minimally invasive way to treat nerve pain. This involves heating part of a nerve with a radiofrequency needle to create a heat lesion that prevents it from sending pain signals to your brain.

In some cases, this can provide long-lasting relief of pain. Additionally, it could help you sidestep surgery if that is your preferred route.

This procedure involves inserting a thin, insulated needle through an incision (cut) in your skin. Your doctor uses an X-ray to guide the probe precisely to where your painful nerve is located, then uses radiofrequency current to heat and destroy nerve tissue. Depending on where it’s located and which nerve type is being treated, this may reduce or eliminate your discomfort.

Before the procedure, a small amount of numbing medication is administered to you. You may experience some tingling or burning sensation but this should subside within minutes after receiving treatment.

Before the ablation, your provider will review your medical and pain history, as well as ask you questions to determine what is causing the discomfort. They may also take X-rays or other imaging tests that can help pinpoint exactly where in the spine your discomfort originates.

Once your doctor pinpoints the area causing you pain, they’ll inject a numbing agent to make the procedure less painful and reassuring. Your provider uses special X-ray technology to direct placement of the radiofrequency probe exactly onto where your nerve is causing discomfort.

After some time has elapsed, your provider will insert the radiofrequency probe through an incision in your skin. The probe contains an electrode placed inside the needle tip which conducts radiofrequency current to heat its tip. A special kind of fluoroscopic monitor will keep track of this temperature so you and your provider remain informed about needle position and treatment area.

Once the current is turned off, any heat created during the procedure dissipates to nearby tissues, helping reduce the chance of infection that can be common with this procedure.

RFA is commonly used to alleviate facet joint pain in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine as well as sacroiliac joint discomfort in the posterior pelvis. In some instances, RFA is combined with either a facet joint block or lateral branch nerve block for even longer-lasting relief.

This procedure is typically performed as an outpatient and typically takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending on how many areas need treating. Following the procedure, you will be monitored for a short period of time.

This procedure can provide long-lasting relief from chronic pain that does not respond to other treatments, and it may need repeating if needed.

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