How Effective is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Are you one of the millions of Americans suffering from chronic back or neck pain? Have you tried multiple treatment options with little or no success? If so, radiofrequency ablation might be the solution to your chronic pain. 

At the Spine & Pain Institute of Florida in Lakeland, Florida, Navdeep Jassal, MD, and his team are experts at performing radiofrequency ablation. This minimally invasive treatment can get rid of your pain for months, years, or even forever.

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment that uses electromagnetic waves to create heat. The heat destroys the nerve tissue that’s causing your pain. With the nerve destroyed, the pain signal is no longer sent.

What conditions are treated by radiofrequency ablation?

Dr. Jassal uses radiofrequency ablation to help patients with chronic pain in the lower back, neck, and sacroiliac joints, which are located in the pelvis. Patients with joint pain related to arthritis may also benefit. 

It’s also possible to treat other pain conditions with radiofrequency ablation. The team at Spine & Pain Institute of Florida will give you a thorough evaluation to determine the best course of treatment for your symptoms. 

How does radiofrequency ablation work?

Radiofrequency ablation is minimally invasive, and the procedure typically takes less than an hour. It’s performed on an outpatient basis, and patients are usually allowed to go home after a short recovery period.

Typically, you are given a local anesthetic at the treatment site. Then, using a special X-ray, Dr. Jassal inserts a needle near the nerve that’s causing your pain. 

Once the needle is in place, a radiofrequency current is passed through the needle to create a precise burn on the nerve. This destroys the part of the nerve responsible for transmitting pain and disrupts the signal to the brain.

Dr. Jassal will provide you with specific post-procedure instructions, and these usually include avoiding driving for 24 hours as well as resting and avoiding strenuous activity for 24 hours.

Is radiofrequency ablation effective?

Yes. More than 70% of patients experience lasting relief with radiofrequency ablation. It usually takes 1-3 weeks for the treatment to take its full effect.

Pain relief typically lasts 6 months to 2 years, and for some patients, the pain never returns. It’s possible, however, for the nerve to regrow. In these cases, radiofrequency ablation may be required again. 

Are there any risks associated with radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a safe procedure with few risks of complications. Serious complications, such as infection and bleeding, are rare. Temporary side effects — which are also uncommon — usually only last 2-3 days. They include:

The treatment is not a good option for women who are or may become pregnant, people with an infection, or those who suffer from bleeding disorders. 

You don’t have to live with pain any longer. If you’re suffering from chronic pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Spine & Pain Institute of Florida today.

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