Patients with chronic pain often benefit from radiofrequency ablation (RFA). This procedure gently “heats” a small area of nerve tissue, thereby curbing the pain signals that would otherwise be transmitted by those nerve fibers. Patients that may benefit from RFA include those suffering from low back and neck pain, as caused by facet joint disease and spondylosis (degenerative arthritis). Many individuals that suffer with chronic pain experience relief after treatment, and this relief can last for six months to one year or even longer. Some patients report mild discomfort at the treatment site, but this discomfort generally subsides after a day or two. Due to the general safety of the procedure and the extended period of relief afforded by RFA, the treatment has become a great option for a wide range of patients.
Prior to performing RFA, a patient meets with their physician for an evaluation. The physician describes the procedure in detail, covering all aspects of the RFA. If the patient desires to pursue the treatment, he or she generally receives a mild sedative and local anesthetic, which minimizes any discomfort felt during the procedure. The physician then inserts small needle(s) near the area of pain, and guides the instrument to the target area with the help of x-ray technology (flouroscopy). A microelectrode inserted through the needle stimulates the intended nerve tissue with radiofrequency current. The physician may ask the patient several questions during this process to optimize the overall treatment. Following the procedure, the patient is typically observed in the recovery area while the sedation wears off, and then the patient is discharged home. Patients should carefully follow their physician’s recommendations to ensure proper healing.
About the Author
Dr. Daniel Batlan is the Medical Direoctor of Specialized Pain Management, which has six locations in Southern Nevada (www.treatpainlv.com). A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, he subsequently earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from The Loyola University of Chicago School of Medicine. Next he completed his Anesthesiology Residency and Pain Management Fellowship at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, respectively. One of Nevada’s leading pain management specialists, Dr. Daniel Batlan consistently employs the most cutting-edge treatments to provide an optimal level of care.