Radiofrequency Ablation

After your doctor performs two sets of diagnostic medial branch blocks, if you have positive outcome, your doctor will recommend Radiofrequency Ablation to treat facet joint pain. Radiofrequency Ablation is a safe procedure when done by skilled physicians trained in these procedures. It is one of the best interventional treatment options for facet originated pain. The amount and duration of pain relief may vary from patient to patient, however on average Radiofrequency Ablation may last 1 or 1 1/2 year when it works. These small nerves do not have any motor function therefore can be safely treated with Radiofrequency Ablation procedure. These nerves grow back slowly and pain may return after a year or so. If you already had success from your initial Radiofrequency ablation procedure, the procedure can be repeated. During this procedure your doctor will place needles on the side of your spine on the facet joints using fluoroscopic guidance. Once needles are placed, your doctor will place probes (wires) through these needles and hook them to a Radiofrequency machine. Your doctor then may do test stimulation and numb the area before heating these medial branch nerves on facet joints using radiofrequency heat. Heating these small nerves decreases pain signals originated from these nerves. This procedure can be done in the neck, mid back or low back area and sometimes on the sacrum and sacroiliac joint or other joints.