Radiofrequency Ablation is also known as rhizotomy; it is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to stop or reduce the transmission of pain. Radiofrequency Ablation is performed to reduce the pain from the neck, hip, back, or knee that is not improved by physical therapy and medications.
A Radiofrequency Ablation: a minimally invasive procedure destroys the nerve fiber that carries pain signals to the brain. It uses heat-generated radio waves that target specific nerves and temporarily turn off the nerves’ ability to send pain signals.
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What are the Causes of Radiofrequency Ablation?
- ● Occurs on one side or both the sides of the lower back
- ● Pain gets worse if you lift or twist something
- ● The pain spreads to other body parts but not below the knee (thighs and buttocks)
- ● The pain would be less when you lie down
What are the Symptoms of Radiofrequency Ablation?
- ● Motor nerves: Motor nerves regulate the nerves under your conscious control such as talking, holding objects, and walking. Damage to these nerves is usually associated with cramps, muscle weakness, and muscle twitching.
- ● Sensory nerves: Sensory nerves give us information about touch, pain, and temperature; thus, you can witness a variety of symptoms. Some of the common symptoms are numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
- ● Autonomic nerves: Autonomic nerves regulate the activities that are not consciously controlled such as heart, thyroid function, and breathing. Some of the common symptoms for the pain in these nerves are excessive sweating, inability to tolerate heat, gastrointestinal symptoms, and changes in blood pressure levels.
How is Radiofrequency Ablation Diagnosed?
- ● Neurological examination: In this, the healthcare professional would check tendon reflexes, muscle strength, muscle tone, and your ability to feel sensations.
- ● Medical history: The healthcare professional would dig deep into understanding your lifestyle, family history of neurological disorders, drinking patterns, exposure to toxins, etc.
Some of the other blood tests that the healthcare professional would suggest for further diagnosis are:
- ● Blood tests
- ● Imaging tests
- ● Nerve function tests
- ● Nerve biopsy
- ● Skin biopsy
How is Radiofrequency Ablation Treated?
- ● The patient is lying on a procedure table. If the procedure involves sedation, then the medication is given to the patient intravenously.
- ● The skin or area on which the treatment is performed is cleaned to minimize the infection.
- ● The physician injects anesthesia in the area of the Radiofrequency Ablation injection site.
- ● he physician makes use of fluoroscopy to direct the needle towards lateral branch nerves.
- ● An active electrode is inserted through the needle with a small amount of electrical current that is accurately passed to the target nerve once the needle is at its accurate location.
- ● Once the target nerve is confirmed, a heat lesion is done on the nerve with the use of pulsed, water-cooled, or conventional Radiofrequency Ablation method.
- ● The same procedure would be used for the treatment of other nerves.
Ensure to follow the below-mentioned steps before the Radiofrequency Ablation procedure:
- ● Ask someone from your family or friends to drop and pick you up from the hospital.
- ● Take your regular medications with clear water and that too as early in the day as possible.
- ● Don’t consume tobacco or smoke on the day of the procedure.
The following pointers must be kept in mind during the Radiofrequency Ablation procedure:
- ● It is an outpatient procedure; hence, you would be discharged on the same day from the hospital.
- ● The healthcare professional would follow all the necessary steps required for the procedure and treatment of targeted nerve tissue.
The following are tips to recover soon after the Radiofrequency Ablation procedure:
- ● Use an ice pack at the injection site (place the pack on the site for 20 minutes).
- ● Do not use a heating pad on the injection site.
- ● Avoid taking a bath for two days.
- ● Take a warm water shower after 24 hours of the procedure.
What Are the Result Associated with Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment?
What Are the Risk Associated with Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment?
- ● Temporary pain at the site of the procedure
- ● Temporary numbness
Some of the serious complications that are rare associated with Radiofrequency Ablation are:
- ● Infection
- ● Nerve damage
- ● Bleeding