Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

RF ablation is a procedure used to reduce chronic back pain related to the degeneration of joints from arthritis.  An electrical current heats up a small area of nerve tissue, therefore decreasing the pain signals from that area.  RFA is performed when the patient has received very good pain relief, albeit short term relief, from the facet/medial branch block injections.  The site will be numbed with an anesthetic.  After the site is numbed, the Interventional Radiologist will insert a small needle into the general area where you are experiencing the pain. Using x-ray guidance, your doctor will insert a small needle to the exact area. A microelectrode is inserted through the needle to begin the stimulation process.  Once the placement is verified, a small current (radiofrequency) is sent through the electrode to the surrounding tissue, causing the tissue to heat up and ablate the nerve.