What is radiofrequency denervation?
Radiofrequency (RF) denervation is a non-surgical procedure that uses heat from radiofrequency waves to reduce pain signals sent from the nerves to the brain. By completely or partially damaging nerve tissue with this minimally invasive technique, it can reduce discomfort and provide relief from chronic pain.
For what conditions is the procedure recommended?
Radiofrequency denervation is recommended for patients with chronic pain due to conditions such as:
• Cancer pain (Any type and location of cancer related pain may be helped with radiofrequency or other methods)
• Facet joint arthritis
• Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
• Post-laminectomy syndrome
• Neck pain
• Low back pain
What are the contraindications?
We do not recommend this procedure for patients who have active infections or lack of response to diagnostic blocks.
How is radiofrequency denervation performed?
Radiofrequency is a procedure used to treat certain medical conditions by applying heat generated from an electric current to the affected nerves with a specialized needle. It is typically performed on an outpatient basis and typically takes less than one hour. Ultrasound or X-ray guidance is used to place the radiofrequency needle and local anesthesia or mild sedation may be given to minimize discomfort during the procedure.
What to expect after radiofrequency denervation
After the procedure, patients may experience mild discomfort and soreness at the injection site. Patients should avoid strenuous activity for several days after the procedure.
How long will the relief last?
The duration of pain relief varies from patient to patient. Some patients experience relief for several months to a year, while others may experience longer-lasting relief.
How to prepare for the procedure?
Patients should do the following:
• Avoid eating or drinking for several hours before the procedure
• Discuss with their healthcare provider any medications they are taking, including NSAIDs and anticoagulants
• Rest before and after the procedure
Are there any potential complications?
The potential complications of radiofrequency denervation include:
• Nerve damage
• Allergic reactions to anesthesia or contrast agents
• Temporary or permanent increase in pain
• Failure to achieve pain relief