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03Aug

What Is Cervical Radiofrequency Ablation?

Pain Management, Radiofrequency Ablation | | Return|

Cervical radiofrequency ablation is a procedure to treat pain in the cervical spine, the top third of the spinal column that connects the skull to the torso.

“Radiofrequency” refers to targeted radio waves delivered to the cervical spine. These radio waves create heat that destroys a small amount of nerve tissue responsible for pain and nerve problems.

 

How Can it Help You?

By destroying a small section of nerve tissue, cervical radiofrequency ablation stops the pain signals the nerves were sending to the brain. The procedure is a minimally invasive way to effectively relieve pain.

 

What Conditions Does it Treat?

Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat back and neck pain in the cervical region. This pain may be related to spinal arthritis (also called spondylosis), an injury such as whiplash, damage from previous spinal surgeries, or certain nerve conditions. Some of the nerve conditions that can be treated with cervical radiofrequency ablation include complex regional pain syndrome and peripheral nerve entrapment syndromes.

 

What Can You Expect?

The procedure is done under conscious sedation. Patients are given a medicine by IV that relieves pain and anxiety, but the patient remains awake and lucid. This is because the patient has to help the medical team place the electrode that is used for the ablation procedure.

The ablation itself can be done in 60 to 90 seconds. After this, the medical team watches the patient until the major effects of the sedation wear off, and then a friend or family member can drive the patient home. The patient then rests for at least 24 hours and can then resume most normal activities.

Some patients have pain or swelling at the site where the needle is inserted for ablation. A doctor may prescribe pain medication, but over-the-counter medicines may work.

 

Results

The full of effect of the procedure should be apparent 3-6 weeks afterward. Most patients experience some pain relief that lasts six months or longer. In some cases, the nerve tissue grows back and the procedure must be repeated. However, the vast majority of patients tolerate the procedure well and side effects are rare.

 

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Pain Management Idaho | Boise Pain Center 

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