Radiofrequency ablation

A radiofrequency ablation uses radio waves to stop nerves in your back from carrying pain signals to your brain.

In order to have a radiofrequency ablation you will need to have had at least two successful medial branch blocks.

During the procedure, the area is numbed with a local anesthetic. Using x-ray guidance, the doctor will insert a needle and electrode into the area that needs to be treated. Afte the doctor confirms that the tools are in the right positions, a high-frequency electrical current is passed through the electrode, heating up the sensory nerve. Once the procedure is complete, the needle and electrode are removed.

You can generally go home within an hour. You may have some discomfort at first, but most patients can return to work and their normal daily activities within 24 to 48 hours. After a few days, you should notice a marked decrease in pain and continued improvement over the next several weeks. You can expect long-lasting pain relief. Because nerves repair themselves the pain may return, but the procedure can be done again with similar results.

Physicians who perform radiofrequency ablations

Find a specialist in your location.