Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
RFA is a useful tool in the management of long term (chronic) painful conditions where other curative treatments have failed to improve the symptoms. It works by destroying the pain causing nerves which thereby alleviates discomfort. This is achieved by inserting a needle next to the relevant nerve which is then heated up. Local anaesthetic is used to make the procedure comfortable. Before undertaking RFA it is necessary to confirm that destroying the nerve will have the desired effect. Therefore an injection known as a nerve block is performed to temporarily numb the nerve. If the pain is significantly reduced then the RFA can be undertaken about a week later.
Unfortunately the nerve will repair itself but typically RFA will produce pain relief for a year by when the procedure can be repeated.
There are many types of problem that can respond to RFA and these include; facet joint pain, sacroiliac pain, occipital neuralgia, meralgia paresthetica, Morton’s neuroma, plantar fasciitis, knee pain, post traumatic and post surgical neuroma pain, shoulder pain.