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radio frequency thermal ablation

kclarkkkclark Posts: 1
edited 03/27/2015 - 9:07 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have several herniated discs, bone spurs, arthritis, degenerative disc disease etc... like many of you. I have been having facet injections and nerve blocks for several years with pretty good success but where I used to have them once a year now I am having them every 3 months and getting relief for a very short time. Next step is the thermal ablation and I was hoping to hear from some who have had that done recently. I hear it can be painful afterwards before the nerves die off.


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Hi KClark,

    RF Ablation is a procedure that intentionally injures nerves to prevent pain signals from being sent to and processed by the brain. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure reserved for those with chronic pain who have not found relief from more conservative treatment methods. I do believe that this procedure is helpful to some degree for around 70% of those who receive it. That being said though, this treatment is NOT a permanent solution. It is what I like to label, a "Band-Aid fix." Over time (1-2 years), your nerves will heal and that same pain WILL return. It is important to remember that this procedure is a treatment that addresses the symptom of pain, not the initial causes of that same pain. In some instances, this procedure CAN make your pain level much worse (if done incorrectly and the targeted nerve is damaged) and it 100% WILL make your level of pain worse before making it any better (1-2 months before experiencing any relief). Others do NOT EVER see any improvement. My advice is for you to research the pros and cons of this procedure as there are many. Make an educated decision based on those pros and cons. Be thorough as this is YOUR life. Knowledge is power.

    Wishing you all the best.

    Doug Hell
    Spine-Health Moderator
    Realize that FEAR is our worst enemy. Get up & get out in that stormy weather of the real world & kick fear in the teeth. Stare at it dead in the eyes & walk right through it into the storm; because once you're wet, you won’t fear the rain anymore
  • AliceloreeAAliceloree Posts: 1
    edited 03/29/2015 - 4:42 PM
    I've had RFA three times, each about two years apart. I, too had all of the usual procedures prior to RFA. I have experienced good results all three times with the post procedure experience mostly similar to what Doug H described. I didn't have much increase in pain after and it took 2-6 weeks (different each time), to have a significant decrease in pain. For me, the procedure is well worth the result. I didn't find the procedure painful, it is very fast and easy.
  • SpineAZSpineAZ WiscPosts: 1,084
    edited 04/06/2015 - 3:14 PM
    I had right side cervical ablation a month ago. First few days were fine, then days 5-8 were very sore. Now it's working well. I'm having left done 4/16. My PM doctor does test medial branch blocks, if they work then you move on to RFA. He uses conscious sedation (versed & fentanyl) during RFA.
    2 ACDFs, 2 PCDF, 3 LIFs; Rt TKR; Rt thumb fusion ; Lt thumb arthroplasty; Ehlers Danlos 
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