Radiofrequency Ablation

Delmarva Pain and Spine Center

Pain Management Physicians located in Newark, DE

If you have chronic pain that hasn’t responded to medication or physical therapy, you might benefit from radiofrequency ablation. At Delmarva Pain and Spine Center in Newark, Delaware, Shachi Patel, MD, performs radiofrequency ablation to relieve neck and back pain. Call Delmarva Pain and Spine Center or schedule a consultation online today to learn how radiofrequency ablation can alleviate your pain.

Radiofrequency Ablation Q & A

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation — sometimes called neurotomy or rhizotomy —  uses radiofrequency energy to heat and damage malfunctioning nerves. It’s an innovative and drug-free treatment to alleviate neurological neck and back pain. 

If medial branch blocks have provided temporary pain relief, it’s a good sign that radiofrequency ablation will provide longer-lasting relief. 

At Delmarva Pain and Spine Center, Dr. Patel uses radiofrequency ablation on the medial branch nerves stemming from the facet joints in your spine. 

Radiofrequency ablation often provides long-lasting pain relief and can help you improve your neck and back strength and range of motion in physical therapy. In some cases, radiofrequency ablation can help you delay or even avoid surgery.

What happens during radiofrequency ablation treatment?

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure. Dr. Patel provides a sedative to keep you relaxed during your treatment and a local anesthetic at the treatment site. 

Once you’re ready, Dr. Patel inserts a cannula — a thin surgical tube — into your spine. She uses fluoroscopy, which is a specialized type of X-ray, to guide the cannula to the correct location. Then, she slides the radiofrequency electrode through the cannula until it’s close to the nerve. 

Dr. Patel releases the radiofrequency energy, which heats the nerve and forms a lesion. The lesion stops the transmission of pain signals to your brain. 

The whole treatment usually takes 15-45 minutes, and Dr. Patel can treat more than one nerve at a time. 

What should I expect after radiofrequency ablation?

You can usually get up and walk around immediately after your radiofrequency ablation treatment. You rest at Delmarva Pain and Spine Center until Dr. Patel releases you, and a friend or family member needs to drive you home since you may be tired from the sedative. 

You may still have some pain in the days following your radiofrequency ablation. This pain is usually due to a muscle spasm that hasn’t relaxed yet. However, as your body heals, your pain subsides. 

Most patients are back at work within three days. You can also start physical therapy right away to address underlying issues that contribute to your pain.

Call Delmarva Pain and Spine Center or make an appointment online today to learn more about radiofrequency ablation and how it can relieve your pain.  

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