Radio Frequency Ablation


What is RFA?

Radio frequency ablation (RFA) is a treatment option used to treat chronic pain. The heat generated by radio frequency waves is used to target specific nerves that are causing the pain. Application of the heat around the nerve reduces its ability to transmit pain signals to the brain.


Good candidates for RFA include those who suffer from chronic neck, knee and back pain, and pain associated with arthritis. It has proven to be very effective for chronic knee pain. Those who had success with nerve block injections have a greater chance of benefiting from RFA. The procedure can provide immediate and lasting pain relief, from 9 months to over 2 years. There is quick to no recovery time, and a reduced need for pain medications. It can thus provide an overall improved quality of life.

 What to expect

At Wilderman Medical Clinic, we use ultrasound to guide the heat generating needle to the specific nerve. Ultrasound guidance is more safe and precise. The procedure is usually performed with a local anesthetic on the area of injection and mild sedation. It is minimally invasive and the patient can return home on the same day. It usually takes 30 to 90 minutes for the procedure. Patients may need to discontinue or adjust the dosage of some medications for the procedure.


RFA has very few associated complications. There may be some swelling and bruising that heals in a few days. There is a risk of infection and bleeding at the site of injection. However, our doctors will well advise patients of the risks before the procedure. Those who have an infection, are pregnant or have bleeding problems should not receive this procedure.


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