Home » Spine Procedures » Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA)
What is a radio frequency ablation?
Radio frequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that involves heating a painful nerve in the spine, hips, knees or elsewhere in the body to prevent it from sending painful signals to the brain. This procedure is generally recommended for cases where joint pain has not responded to conservative treatments such as medication or injections. For many patients, an RFA can provide relief that allows for the resumption of everyday activities and improved quality of life.
At USA Spine Care, our team is dedicated to helping people reclaim their life from chronic pain and we believe patient education is a key first step. We’re always here to help and invite you to contact us if you have any questions or would like to learn more about our full range of treatment options.
Who does a radio frequency ablation help?
RFA is designed to relieve pain caused by irritation of the nerves in joints throughout the body. Commonly used to treat neck or back pain related to spinal facet joint inflammation, RFA can also relieve nerve pain in the hips, knees and other joints. Common causes of this form of nerve pain include spinal arthritis, spondylosis, occipital neuralgia, hip arthritis and knee arthritis. When protective joint cartilage begins to wear down throughout the body, our joints can become inflamed and put pressure on the surrounding nerves.
The nerves that are heated in an RFA are only responsible for localized sensation, so the procedure does not affect any motor functions or sensation in other regions of the body.
Radio frequency ablation — procedure and recovery
The first step in this procedure is to perform a nerve block injection to precisely determine the location of the nerve that is causing painful symptoms. With the help of an X-ray device, the surgeon will inject a temporary numbing agent into the area around the target nerve. If the patient feels relief after the diagnostic nerve block, the patient can be considered a good candidate for RFA.
The RFA procedure itself is performed on an outpatient basis with the patient lying on his or her stomach or back depending on the area being treated. Using the X-ray device, the surgeon guides a radio frequency needle that sends an electric current through the target branch nerve. Similar to a root canal, the nerve is effectively burned off so it can no longer transmit painful signals and cause discomfort. The entire procedure is usually completed within one to two hours and the patient can return home the same day.
The recovery time is minimal after an RFA and patients will be given detailed instructions on caring for the procedure site and resuming activity.
Radiofrequency ablation cost
Cost for RFAs can depend on the nature of the procedure, the number of ablations required, the location and insurance carrier. Medicare has approved RFAs if they are deemed necessary by a physician for treatment. USA Spine Care facilities accept patients with Medicare, most private health insurances, as well as workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. If you have any questions related to cost and payment, a member of our team will be glad to help.
Reach out to USA Spine Care to learn more about our RFA procedure
If spinal joint pain, knee pain, hip pain and other symptoms are taking you away from family, work and your favorite hobbies, reach out to the caring team at USA Spine Care today. We can help you determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures, including radio frequency ablation.
Call toll free 1- 866-249-1627.