Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
In modern pain clinics, radiofrequency nerve destruction is a useful treatment option for certain types of chronic pain including head and neck pain from whiplash injuries, chronic lumbar facet joint pain and certain types of neuralgia.
Radiofrequency techniques for nerve destruction have been developed and refined within the past decade, and radiofrequency ablation is now considered a precise and safe method for nerve destruction. With radiofrequency techniques, electromagnetic energy is transmitted into the nerve causing a coagulation of proteins within the nerve tissue. The nerve sheath itself is left intact so that painful post-procedure neuroma does not occur. The technique is very precise since the energy is delivered by a special needle placed directly onto the targeted nerve with X-ray-guided accuracy.
A radiofrequency neurotomy or neuro ablation can be performed on the neck, back, coccyx or sacrum areas and can provide pain relief for about one year. The degree and length of relief will vary with each patient. Although uncommon, risks may include increased pain, infection and bleeding.