Radiofrequency Ablation is a type of injection procedure used as an effective and long-term treatment for several conditions including chronic neck and back pain. RFA is most commonly used after trying epidural steroid injections (ESI) for pain relief. If ESI is no longer working, Radiofrequency Ablation may be suggested by your pain management doctor. Radiofrequency Ablation uses electrical current to heat up a small amount of nerve tissue, interrupting the pain signals from that area.

Benefits of Radiofrequency Ablation:

  • Long-term reduction of neck and back pain
  • Increase range of motion in neck and back
  • Reduce amount of opioid pain medication
  • Avoid or delay surgery

Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure

RFA is an outpatient procedure performed in 30-45 minutes in the Oklahoma Interventional Spine & Pain office. Dr. Brandon Claflin or Dr. Jeff Halsell will numb an area of your skin with a local anesthetic. For your comfort you will be provided a light sedation administered by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). Then your doctor will insert a thin needle into the area where you feel pain using an x-ray to guide the needle to the appropriate area. Next, your doctor will insert a microelectrode through the needle which may produce a tingling sensation. The tingling sensation helps your doctor identify the right area for treatment. Lastly, the doctor will send a small radiofrequency current through the electrode to heat the nerve tissue.

Radiofrequency Ablation Expected Results

Pain relief from RFA can last from six to twelve months and in some cases, relief can last for years. More than 70% of patients treated with RFA experience pain relief. RFA can be repeated without any major risks. The known risks include discomfort, including swelling and bruising, and infection and bleeding at the injection site, although these risks are rarely seen by patients of Dr. Halsell and Dr. Claflin. Most of these side-effects go away within a day or two. If these side effects persist, please contact your doctor.

To find out if your chronic pain can be effectively treated with Radiofrequency Ablation, please call Oklahoma Interventional Spine & Pain at 918-728-8020.

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