Radiofrequency Ablation for chronic pain
If you’ve been suffering with chronic pain, relief may be in sight— without the need for surgery. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a well-established, drug-free treatment that has been clinically proven to provide safe, effective, lasting relief from chronic pain. More than 70% of patients treated with RFA experience relief— lasting anywhere from six to twelve months, and in some cases, years.
What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
RFA is a simple outpatient procedure that targets the joint causing your pain and uses thermal energy to interrupt the pain signals at their source. It can be used for neck, back, knee, and hip pain, and your doctor can treat more than one location during the same procedure.
RFA treatment tends to be well tolerated, and has few associated complications. In general, candidates who respond well to RFA can expect pain relief that lasts from 6-18 months. The procedure can be repeated when the nerves regenerate and the pain returns.
What happens during the procedure?
Your doctor performs this short procedure in a treatment room setting. Local anesthesia and a mild sedative may be used to reduce discomfort during the procedure.
Your doctor uses x-ray imaging to guide special needles to the treatment locations near the joint. Electrodes are used to stimulate nerves near to the locations to help determine the optimal treatment locations for pain relief.
Once the optimal location is verified, the electrodes send a small RF current into the surrounding tissue, causing the tissue to heat and disable the nerve to stop it from sending pain signals.
Your doctor may treat more than one location during the same procedure to cover multiple areas of pain in the back, knee, hip, or wherever your pain may be.
After the procedure, you may experience a few days of discomfort around the procedure site(s). It’s generally advised not to engage in any strenuous activity for at least 24 hours after treatment, but your doctor will give you complete post-procedure instructions. Over the next few weeks, your pain should subside, allowing you to return to the activities you enjoyed before the onset of your chronic pain.
Am I a candidate for RFA?
Talk to your doctor to see if pain relief with Boston Scientific Radiofrequency Ablation is right for you. Your doctor can perform a simple, in-office test to show if RFA may be a good option for you. You will receive a simple shot of numbing medication. If you experience relief right away, that would indicate that the joint is the source of pain, and the RFA can be used for a more long-term, effective form of pain management.