Nerve Block and Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA)
In order to determine the source of a patient’s pain, nerve blocks are frequently utilized allowing for the precise cause of a person’s pain to be identified. Nerve blocks are typically performed under live X ray with IV sedation and are completely reversible and temporary in nature. The sole purpose of performing a nerve block is to diagnose the source of the pain.
Once nerve blocks are found to be diagnostic in nature, Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) is employed to remove the damaged nerve. This is accomplished by placing a special needle with an active tip into the target area and producing targeted radio waves which heat up the pain nerve so they can no longer send a pain impulse to the brain. The heat produced during the procedure is set at 90 degrees Celsius for sixty seconds and is repeated multiple times depending on the target being treated. This temperature is equivalent to an average sauna and results in elimination of the damaged pain nerve while leaving the surrounding tissue intact. Healing is typically described as a sun burn feeling that lasts for a period of time with most people experiencing significant long term pain reduction.
These treatments are typically utilized to treat facet pain, sacroiliac joint pain, spinous process pain, lumbar vertebrae pain, occipital neuralgia and genicular nerve pain (knee).