- Radiofrequency ablation (RFAs) use a specialized device that uses a special (radiofrequency) needle alongside the nerve. A small amount of electrical current is carefully passed to make sure the right nerve is being targeted. The RFA uses heat to disrupt the nerve’s ability to send pain signals, lessening the pain felt by the patient. The electrode is heated to 50-80°C and kept at that temperature for 90 seconds.
- Before an RFA can be performed, a patient must first go through two medial branch blocks (MBBs) to ascertain that the right nerve is being targeted. Once two successful MBBs have been performed and cause the patient to feel reduced pain, an RFA can then be performed.
- RFAs usually cause relief for the patient anywhere from six months to several years.