Radiofrequency ablation uses an electric current to heat up a small area of nerve tissue to stop it from sending pain signals. It can provide lasting relief for people with chronic pain, especially in the lower back, neck and arthritic joints.
How is radiofrequency ablation done?
First, you’ll be given an intravenous medication to relax you. Then, you’ll lie on your stomach or back on an x-ray table.
The doctor will numb an area of your skin with a local anesthetic. Then, he or she will:
Insert a thin needle into the area where you feel pain; an x-ray can help your doctor pinpoint the exact area
Insert a microelectrode through the needle; your doctor will ask if you feel a tingling sensation; this helps your doctor identify the right area for treatment
Send a small radiofrequency current through the electrode to heat your nerve tissue
Usually, after the procedure you can go home the same day.