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Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency (rhizotomy) ablation is a proven, safe procedure which aims to interrupt pain signals that are transmitted via the medial branch nerves (see “medial branch block” above). During this procedure, a radiofrequency current and specialized needle are used to heat the tissue alongside a medial branch nerve to disrupt the transmission of pain signals. Two or three needles are typically used for this procedure under fluoroscopic guidance. Once these are inserted, testing is performed to determine if the needles are placed appropriately. Once this has been verified, the radiofrequency procedure is performed. Because multiple needles are used, there may be some post-procedure discomfort which can be managed with anti-inflammatories. Therapeutic results from this procedure are usually discernable within two to three weeks, though some patients do experience immediate benefits.