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Pain Management Procedures

Radiofrequency Rhizotomy

Radiofrequency rhizotomy is a procedure that sends radio waves (heat) through a needle to damage small sensory nerve endings to interrupt pain. The procedure is only recommended for those patients who have not received relief using other conservative pain treatment. Radiofrequency is considered quite effective. Patients have received up to two years of relief from one radiofrequency rhizotomy procedure. However, since nerve endings are capable of re-growth, pain can return. This procedure can be repeated as necessary.

This procedure is performed in the office. Prior to the procedure, the injection site is thoroughly cleansed with sterile solution. A local anesthetic is administered. Radiofrequency rhizotomy is performed using an x-ray machine (fluoroscope) that is connected to a TV monitor and x-rays may be taken at this time. The Doctor will use fluoroscopic guidance to verify proper placement of the needle. After the needle placement is determined, the nerve may be stimulated resulting in the contraction of the affected muscles. After needle placement is verified, the Doctor will use an anesthetic to numb the nerve. The Doctor will use an electrode to apply heat to the nerve for about one minute.

How does it Work?
The heat applied via the electrode will create a lesion which results in nerve cauterization (burning). This cauterization destroys the communication between the nerve and the brain resulting in pain relief. This procedure can be repeated above and below the area where the pain originates.

After the Procedure

You will not be able to drive for the remainder of the day following a selective nerve root block. It is best to have an adult drive you home and accompany you to your home. This person should also be available to you should you require assistance at any time during the day after your procedure. You may experience some muscle soreness in your back where the needles were inserted. Apply ice packs to these areas and take your usual pain medication to help alleviate this pain. Do not apply heat or soak in water for the remainder of the day. Depending on how you feel, you may be able to resume normal activity and return to work within 1 to 3 days.

For a better understanding of interventional pain treatment services, contact the healthcare professionals at Minimally Invasive Pain Institute.  They can help customize a treatment for you and your acute or chronic pain condition. To find out if you are a good candidate, or for more information on this and other pain treatment services, read on or contact our pain management center.  Together, we’ll help you find the relief you need for the quality of life you deserve.