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Who has used Radio Frequency Ablation?

My neck has been diagnosed with fairly severe bone spurs delivered by my osteoarthritis. It's been giving me very severe pain in my neck, back of skull, left upper arm for almost a year and a half. I've tried every conservative treatment available over the last year and a half -- and now my superior Pain Specialist is willing to do a radio frequency abllation for me -- in the joint that seems to be impinging a nerve. It's my only health problem -- I'm an active (or used to be) 70 years young female..... and I am leaning towards allowing him to do this. The last procedures were 4 cortisone shots -- and the only one that worked briefly was the shot he did in the C-7 joint. I would have a 'test run' of a numbing block done one week to see if I would react positively prior to the 'real' ablation. As far as I can tell on major medical websites (like Mayo) this is the correct procedure. Anyone had this? Or has thoughts about the obvious long recuperation following as the 'ends of the burned nerves' heal?????? I'd love to hear GOOD and BAD reports -- or whatever you may have to say about it.


  • TracyLynneTTracyLynne Posts: 598
    edited 09/27/2012 - 5:03 AM
    If you do a search for 'rhizotomy' up above, I think you'll find that many of us here on SH have had the procedure.

    I myself have had great results with them; three of the four included levels in my neck, and I was lucky enough to have immediate relief once the nerves settled down (approximately 30 minutes afterwards). My new pain doc will only do one level of the spine at a time, so I am headed for another RFA on October 30th to deal with my lower lumbar spine.

    Each doctor is different; my first surgeon did the procedures under a general anaesthetic and injected steroids into areas that were especially painful. My new pain doc does the procedure in the O.R. while his patients are awake, so this will be a new experience for me.

    I hope things work out for you and you get some relief; I am very familiar with that radiating, burning pain that comes from the neck, so I can sympathize!

  • Hello I have endured 3 of the procedures and have
    not had any relief. The pain after the RFA was very
    painful for a month. I was told this prior to the procedure
    but I was willing to keep trying if it would help my pain.
    I did have a medial Branch block Bi-lateral in c4-c7 and
    had Great relief for 4 Days. Only to come creeping back.
    This was my experience everyone is different. My
    PM has now backed off and is giving my neck a rest.
    Good Luck to you.

    ACDF C4-C7 5/13/2010. Synthetic Bone Graft Failed Fusion.
    PCF C4-C7 8/13/13. Rods and Screws Fused in 3 Months with Autograft.
    C6-C7 Spineous process Surgically Shaved Off 3/11/14.
  • If this is the same procedure im thinking about, I had this done about 8 years ago. At first it seemed to relieve the pain some what, but after a few months the pain came back worse than it was to begin with. Years later, after changing pain management doctors, I found out why I hurt worse after the nerves grew back. My doctor explained it to me like this. When the nerves are burnt the pain may be alleviated for a few weeks or a few months, but eventually the nerves will grow back and when they do grow back they tend to grow back twice as many as there were before. In other words were you may have had "one nerve" sending the pain signal before, when they grow back there may be two nerve endings. Which means twice as many nerve endings to send to send the pain signal to the brain. This may be something to look into. I found out the hard way
  • MballardMMballard Posts: 101
    edited 09/28/2012 - 12:46 AM
    I had never heard that about the nerves growing back! Makes sense, though...so a nerve is like a Hydra - cut off one head and two grow back in its place? Sorry, I'm showing my nerdness here lol.

    I had this done about a year ago. It didn't help me at all. I was pretty miserable for a few days afterward, but it wasn't too bad. My dr does this without any sedation and I was fully awake. Luckily he only does one side at a time - multiple levels, but only either the right or left side of the back.

    But, it's worth a shot! Anything to try to get some relief and avoid a surgery, eh?
    L5-S1 Fusion, Discectomy on 7/10/12
    Herniated Discs at L3-L4-L5-S1, Spondylosis, Spondylolethesis at L5, DDD, Partial CES, Lumbar Facet Arthropathy
    Chronic back pain since 12/2010 (slip and fall on ice)
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