Chronic pain is not an easy issue to live with. With today’s advanced technology, Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) has made it possible to eliminate this debilitating ailment.
RFA is a procedure used to reduce pain by utilizing electrical currents produced by radio waves that heat up a small area of nerve tissue and decrease pain signals from the pungent area.
More than 70 percent of patients treated with RFA experience relief. The alleviation can last six to 12 months, sometimes even years.
People who are treated using RFA are often long-time chronic low-back and neck pain sufferers due to the deterioration of joints from arthritis.
During the RFA procedure, an IV is placed into a sufferer’s arm vein along with anesthesia, to ease discomfort. The person will be awake while the doctor inserts a small needle into the chronic area. The doctor then uses an X-ray machine to guide the needle in to the specific region.
A microelectrode (a small electrode with a tip that can be inserted into the wall of a single cell) is then inserted through the needle to begin the stimulation process. A small radiofrequency current is then sent through the electrode into the nearby tissue, heating it.
The side effects of RFA may include:
- Leg numbness: This may occur because of the anesthesia given during the procedure and should only last a few hours.
- Mild back discomfort: Patient can develop this when the anesthesia wears off and usually lasts two or three days. Applying ice to the area the day of the procedure and moist heat the day after can help decrease the ache.
- Discomfort: This can include swelling and bruising at the site of treatment
This procedure has been proven to be a safe and successful way to treat some forms of pain. RFA is not recommended for people who have active infections or the ability to form blood clots.
About Dr. Scott Gottlieb:
Dr. Scott Gottlieb is a pain management expert and the founder of Gramercy Pain Management. He is the director of Pain Management at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary (NYEE) and has treated over 3,000 patients. Dr. Gottlieb is board certified in both pain management and anesthesiology. He has offices in both Manhattan and Montebello, N.Y. in Rockland County.