Danielle discusses a treatment options we see a lot of success with:
Radiofrequency Lesioning for Chronic Back and Neck Pain
Radiofrequency Lesioning (RFL), also known as Radiofrequency Ablation or Radiofrequency Degeneration is a minimally invasive procedure performed to reduce and eliminate back pain and neck pain that is caused by degeneration of the facet joints (Arthritis and Osteoarthritis).
RFL is the third and final step to a three part procedure and is only recommended after a patient has undergone and had two positive responses (50%+ reduction in pain over a 24 hour period) to Diagnostic Medial Branch Block procedures – which are performed first to confirm that the pain is coming from the area suspected: small joints called Facet Joints.
In a nut shell- Radiofrequency Lesioning is the action of degenerating/cauterizing the nerves (Medial Branch Nerves) that correlate and send signals (pain) to and from the facet joints. RFL works by stopping the communication between these nerves and joints using cauterization and the formation of scar tissue. Both X-ray guidance and a highly specialized piece of equipment are used to help the doctor accurately locate the nerves utilizing gentle electrostimulation. Local anesthetic is used so discomfort is rare. However, it is not uncommon for patients to experience slight twitching to the area being treated during this time. Each nerve will then be cauterized by delivering 90 seconds of heat produced by our specialized equipment.
Results are generally noticed by patients within two to four weeks depending on the amount of time it takes your body to heal/form scar tissue. Results also vary. On average, RFL provides six months to two years reduction/elimination of pain. The variation of results are vast because they depend on the amount of time it takes the cauterized nerves to regenerate (nerve regeneration begins between six and twenty four months – each individual patient is different).
Just like most of the other services offered at the Spine and Pain Institute – RFL is covered by most insurers with a Prior Authorization and conveniently performed in our on-site procedure suite with the assistance of fluoroscopic guidance and with little to no discomfort. Risks and complications are minimal and most patients are able to return to their daily activities the next day.