The physicians of Innovative Pain Specialists may recommend radiofrequency ablation for pain originating from your spine. This is an interventional technique that is used in order to minimize the need for systemic medications and/or invasive surgery.
Facet joint injections and medial branch blocks can be administered in the cervical, thoracic, and/or lumbar levels of the spine. The facet joints are small joints over the posterior aspect of the spine that allow each vertebrae to articulate with an adjacent level. These joints can become painful due to a variety of causes, usually due to arthritis or degeneration of the joint. The medial branch nerves are small nerves that innervate the facet joints. Thus, when a facet joint in your spine is painful, the medial branch nerves relay sensation of that painful facet joint(s) to the brain. Therefore if a facet joint is determined to be painful, radiofrequency ablation has been developed as a long-term method for pain relief, as compared to injections alone.
If the patient has obtained significant relief from either facet joint injections or medial branch nerve blocks, then your physician may recommend this procedure. This procedure is performed under fluoroscopy, which is real-time x-ray guidance to ensure accuracy and optimal results. Many patients elect to have this procedure performed under light sedation for some mild discomfort and/or anxiety and apprehension related to the procedure. Sedation is not always necessary, but we want our patients to know that they have this option if desired.
>For more information regarding radiofrequency ablation of the medial branch nerves, click here.
>For an animated video of the procedure, click here.
Radiofrequency Ablation (sacro-iliac pain / peripheral nerves)
Radiofrequency ablation can be performed on other nerves of the body as well. If you have pain in other areas of your body after surgery, trauma, cancer, or some other condition and you have benefited from a nerve block in the past, this may be an option. Certain patients who undergo peripheral nerve blocks may get significant relief. However, many times this relief is not long-lasting. This is the ideal scenario when radiofrequency ablation may be an option for you. Our physicians have the ability to target small peripheral nerves and perform radiofrequency ablation on them, when indicated, in order to provide patients with a much longer duration of relief, sometimes for years. This procedure may be performed under fluoroscopy or ultrasound guidance in order to ensure accuracy and optimal results.