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RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION

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What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), also known as radiofrequency neurotomy, is a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes radio waves to generate heat and target specific nerve tissues. By heating a small area of nerve tissue, RFA interrupts the transmission of pain signals to the brain, offering long-lasting relief for individuals with chronic pain, particularly in areas like the lower back, neck, and arthritic joints.

The primary objectives of radiofrequency ablation are to alleviate or diminish pain, enhance functionality, reduce reliance on pain medications, and potentially defer or avoid the need for surgery. RFA is a valuable option for individuals seeking effective pain management strategies that can lead to improved quality of life and decreased reliance on traditional pain relief methods.

Diseases Cured by Radiofrequency Ablation

RF ablation is a versatile procedure used to treat various diseases and conditions, including:

  1. Chronic pain stemming from conditions like spinal arthritis (spondylosis) and sacroiliac joint pain.
  2. Excessive neck pain, backache, and knee pain.
  3. Cancer-related pain, where RFA can target and alleviate discomfort associated with tumors.
  4. Facial pain is caused by trigeminal neuralgia, a condition affecting the trigeminal nerve.
  5. Peripheral nerve pain, such as pain from damaged nerves in the arms or legs.
  6. Heart rhythm problems, where RFA is used to correct abnormal electrical pathways in the heart.
  7. Tumors, such as RFA, can be utilized to destroy tumor cells through targeted heating.

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How Does It Work?

Radiofrequency treatment is a procedure that utilizes heat generated from radio waves to target and treat diseased tissue, particularly nerve tissue causing pain. The process involves inserting a small hollow needle into the specific nerve responsible for pain. An electrode within the needle emits radio waves, creating heat that forms a lesion on the nerve. This lesion disrupts the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals to the brain, resulting in pain relief without damaging nearby healthy nerves.

In spine-related pain management, RFA is commonly used to target nerves associated with facet joints and sacroiliac joints. Facet joints are small joints between vertebrae that allow spinal flexibility, while sacroiliac joints are near the base of the spine. Nerves connected to these joints, such as medial branch nerves for facet joints and lateral branch nerves for sacroiliac joints, transmit pain signals to the brain.

Treating these specific nerves with radiofrequency ablation reduces pain signals’ transmission, providing effective pain management within the spine and related areas like the neck, lower back, and joints such as the knee.

RFA for Knee Pain

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has emerged as a viable option for knee joint pain management, especially for individuals unsuitable for joint replacement or unresponsive to conventional treatments like pain medication. Typically used for osteoarthritis-related pain or post-injury discomfort, RFA involves a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. By using x-ray-guided needles with a controlled electric current, the physician targets and disrupts pain-causing nerves, providing relief for up to two years. 

This approach is particularly beneficial for geriatric patients seeking to avoid extensive recovery periods associated with surgery. The procedure’s short recovery time, lack of incisions, and potential for a quick return to daily activities make it an appealing choice for those struggling with debilitating joint pain. However, as nerve regeneration can occur after about six months, patients should discuss with their healthcare provider to determine RFA candidacy and explore its suitability in their pain management plan.

Post Recovery Care

After radiofrequency ablation (RFA), individuals may experience varying degrees of pain relief depending on the cause and location of their pain. Immediate relief is possible for some, while others may notice improvement within 10 days to three weeks post-procedure. Pain relief typically lasts from six months to a year, although some may experience longer-lasting relief for several years. It’s important to note that treated nerves can regenerate, usually around nine months to 2 years after RFA, but the procedure can be repeated if necessary.

You should consult Dr. Manohar Kanwaria to discuss the radiofrequency ablation cost, its success rate, and the expected duration of pain relief based on your specific condition, pain severity, and location. He will offer insights and projections tailored to your individual circumstances to optimize post-recovery care and pain management strategies.Read More: Ganglion Block Treatment

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