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What is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?

Certain types of chronic pain can be treated with radiofrequency ablation (RFA), a minimally invasive medical technique. A tiny electrode is implanted during the operation, which employs radio waves to create heat and kill the nerve tissue that is causing the pain. Pain alleviation that lasts for several months or longer is the result of this. RFA is frequently employed to treat ailments like arthritis, back pain, and neck pain. In comparison to more intrusive surgical procedures, the technique is frequently selected because it is typically safe and well-tolerated. RFA is frequently done as an outpatient surgery, and patients can usually get back to their regular routines right away.

The procedure of RFA:

To develop a heat lesion, a radio wave's electrical current heats a small patch of nerve tissue. Because of the ensuing lesion, the nerve's ability to communicate with the brain and transmit pain signals is compromised. Before the operation, a vein in your arm may be utilized to insert an intravenous (IV) line. A local anesthetic may also be administered to lessen any discomfort during RFA.

The process of stimulation is started by inserting a small needle into the general location of the patient's pain and a microelectrode through the needle. By heating the lesions in the surrounding tissue with a small radiofrequency current, the electrode blocks pain signals. A recovery interval is preferred, and the quick treatment could take between 15 and 45 minutes.

Recovery Time

One to three weeks following the injection, pain alleviation from RFA is usually seen. It is suggested to take a few days off from exercise and then resume it gradually. Also, it is advised to avoid strenuous activity for the first 24 hours after the treatment.

Why We Do RFA?

To lessen persistent back, neck, knee, or hip pain that hasn't subsided despite medicine or physical therapy, or in cases when surgery isn't an option. The most common conditions for which it has been utilized are facet-mediated arial back pain, chronic neck pain following whiplash, and chronic headache syndrome brought on by occipital and trigeminal neuralgia.

Benefits of RFA
  • Minimally invasive:
    is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that can be completed as an outpatient. The result is that patients avoid major surgery, which can be more intrusive and necessitate a longer recovery period.

  • Rapid return to normal activities:
    Patients who get RFA typically experience little downtime or recuperation time and can resume their regular activities very fast.

  • Repeatable:
    If the pain reappears, RFA can be performed once more, allowing patients to keep getting relief from their chronic pain.

  • Low chance of complications:
    is typically regarded as a safe therapy with a low chance of complications. Infection, hemorrhage, and other problems are less likely with RFA compared to more invasive surgical procedures.

  • Relief that lasts for a long time:
    has the potential to relieve pain for a long time, often from a few months to a year or more. Patients with persistent pain who have tried various treatments without success may find this to be extremely helpful.

  • Fewer medications:
    may help patients cut back on the number of painkillers they take, which can have negative side effects and develop a dependence.

Is RFA a Safe Treatment?
  • The nerve could regenerate through the burned lesion, although it normally takes 8 to 12 months. When successful nerve blocks are performed, RFA is 70–80% effective. Repetition of the process is possible if necessary.
  • For many types of pain, RFA is a secure and reliable method of treatment. Additionally, it often has few concomitant problems and is well tolerated. For some individuals, the alleviation lasts for years, while for others it lasts for 6–12 months.
  • RFA is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that does not call for general anesthesia or large incisions. This lowers the possibility of difficulties brought on by more invasive procedures.
  • Compared to more invasive surgical procedures, RFA carries a lower risk of infection due to its minimally invasive nature.
  • After RFA, the majority of patients can resume their regular activities in a few days. As a result, there is a lower chance of complications brought on by extended hospital stays or lengthy recuperation periods.

How We Do RFA?
  • Using a diagnostic procedure as the first stage, water-cooled RFA is a two-part method.
  • He or she can use an X-ray or USA to help the doctor navigate a needle to the nerves. The next step is the injection of a small amount of anesthetic medication.
  • Similar to the diagnostic process is the ablation itself. A radiofrequency generator is connected to all devices save a particular probe that resembles a needle.
  • Heat-induced death of the nerves occurs as a result of the nerves. The name is a little deceptive because it uses the word "cooled." Not the probe's temperature, it relates to the water that is flowing through the apparatus.

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How Does Our Medical Staff Carry Out the Procedure?
  • The procedure will be completed as an outpatient, with you lying on the operating table.
  • The doctor and nurse may link you to a monitor so that you can keep track of your vital signs.
  • Put an IV line before choosing a drug.
  • Use a sterile drop to cover the region where the needle will be inserted and sterilize it.
  • There are three techniques for ablation:

  • 1.Surgery
    2.Procedures in which a needle electrode is inserted into the tumor's location through the skin.
    3.Through a tiny skin incision, needle electrodes in a thin plastic tube are threaded during laparoscopic surgery.

  • Insert the needle electrode into the skin under the guidance of imaging.
  • The doctor will withdraw the electrode from the needle and apply pressure to halt any bleeding after the procedure. No sutures are required; simply cover the skin gap with dressing.
  • Each ablation takes between 10 and 30 minutes; extra time is needed if there are several ablations.

What To Expect After RFA?
  • Recovery time:
    the operation, patients should plan to rest for several hours. They may also feel some pain or soreness when the procedure was performed. The length of recovery can vary from person to person, but most patients can resume their regular activities in a matter of days.

  • Lifestyle changes:
    To maximize the efficacy of RFA and reduce the risk of consequences, patients may be encouraged to undergo specific lifestyle changes. This can involve practices including eating healthily, exercising frequently, and abstaining from alcohol and tobacco use.

  • Follow-up visits:
    Patients will often schedule follow-up visits with our doctors to track their development and evaluate the efficacy of the therapy. Physical examinations, imaging studies, and discussions regarding pain intensity and any adverse effects could be part of these appointments.

  • Restrictions on Activities:
    Activities that patients may be required to avoid for a while following the treatment include strenuous activities like heavy lifting. This will reduce the possibility of problems and help the treated region heal properly.

  • Expected results:
    RFA, patients should expect some level of pain reduction. Depending on the patient and the illness being treated, the degree of pain alleviation and the length of the impact can change.