(RFA) Facet Ablations

What is a lumbar radiofrequency ablation (RFA), and how does it work?

A lumbar RFA is a technique that uses radio waves to block the lumbar medial branch nerve from transferring pain signals to the brain from a damaged facet joint. A needle is inserted through the skin and directed to the correct location, overlying the medial branch nerve using X-ray guidance.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, radiofrequency energy or electrical currents may also be applied to destroy abnormal tissues or tumors. Ablations may be performed to treat many types of medical conditions.

How is the facet ablation procedure performed?

Patients typically lay down for 20 to 45 minutes during the treatment. A local anesthetic will be performed for you, and you’ll be awake for the majority of the treatment. In some cases, a general anesthetic is given, and the patient is not awake for the procedure.

Sedative medicine can be provided if necessary to alleviate discomfort. An area of skin may be shaved, if necessary, and disinfected. The length of the procedure will depend on the area being treated.

Using X-ray guidance, the needle will be guided to its proper position. During the operation, the doctor will ask if you experience any tingling or twitching in your muscles. This will ensure that the electrode is in the correct position. Once the needle and electrode are in the proper position, radio waves are used to heat the nerve until it can no longer transmit pain signals to the brain.

Patients who have successful pain relief following a diagnosis for the nerve/pain receptor block injection can be helped by radiofrequency ablation. Fluoroscopic X-rays are used for radiofrequency ablation and are not used for ill, pregnant, or bloodthirsty persons.

Benefits of facet ablation

It’s also used to relieve pain in the spine, back, knees, pelvis, legs, and peripheral nerve pain. Radiofrequency ablation has several advantages, including avoiding surgery, rapid pain relief, little or no recovery time, decreased pain medication usage, improved function, and a quicker return to work, and other activities are all benefits of this treatment.

Other benefits include a shorter recovery time compared to open surgery, less bleeding, and minimal risk is involved. Like mentioned earlier, some procedures may be performed under local anesthesia, where the patient is awake. Patients could be discharged the same day, or require a short period of hospitalization. Facet ablation therapy can be repeated, if necessary.

What are the risks of facet ablation?

The following side effects can occur immediately after a facet ablation procedure:

Over the injection site, there is burning and hypersensitivity, and sometimes, numbness and tingling can occur.

The strength of radio waves Electrical current is used to induce neurotomy in the lumbar spine. In the treated region, these symptoms may also feel like a sunburn. Although these symptoms can last for a few days or weeks, they can be treated by resting, applying an ice pack to the sore area on an as-needed basis, and taking topical or oral medications.

What is the downtime of facet ablation?

While RFA is a non-surgical procedure, it does necessitate the use of anesthesia, which allows your Orthopedic to conduct the procedure without the patient feeling any discomfort. The patient should expect to feel drowsy after waking up from anesthesia and should exercise caution while standing or walking.

This can last up to 7 hours after the operation, and the patients are held in a treatment area where their wellbeing is monitored. It is preferable to have a family member present to support you and take you home the next day. Most patients can recommence their daily activities the next day, but anything more strenuous should be postponed for days.

How orthopedic attention can help with facet ablation surgery

Your doctor will utilize a local anesthetic to numb the area before inserting a small needle into the skin near the affected area during the RFA procedure. The needle is guided explicitly to nerves that transmit pain to the back or neck using a particular X-ray system called a fluoroscope. The needle is then pierced with radio waves, which produce low-grade heat near the nerves that cause pain. This heat reduces the ability of those nerves to send pain signals from a specific location, such as your neck or back, that is causing you chronic pain.

Book a facet ablation appointment at Ceda Orthopedic Group today!

If you believe you could benefit from a minimally invasive facet ablation procedure, book an appointment with Ceda Orthopedic Group today. When you book an appointment with one of our spine specialists, we will offer you transportation to our office for the meeting.

Schedule an appointment with Ceda Orthopedic Group by filling out this form on our website, and we’ll contact you as soon as possible!