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Has anyone had an ablation?

KimD592KKimD592 Posts: 435
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:57 AM in Chronic Pain
Someone at work mentioned that she has back problems and they did some kind of ablation where they burn the nerve(root). Does anyone have experience in this? If so, does it typically help with radicular pain? My pain is originating from either T10/11 or T7/8...there's been some debate on which disc is the culprit. One doctor suggested I have a nerve block, which I've been debating having done. I've had a couple of doctors say I need surgery, but I am going for 1-2 more opinions before I make that decision. On the one hand, if I can find something that helps to the point that I don't need surgery, I would be elated. On the other hand, if it's something that is just prolonging the inevitable, I'd rather just have the surgery and try to fix the root of the problem.


  • They cant fix the root of the problem if you have not even had a nerve block, Nerve block is not only for the pain but also to find the right level of the pain generator, once they find where the pain is coming from then they can also try ablation

    How can you be debating a simple injection , but willing to have surgery? Stop trying to re invent the wheel, Everyone has to go through injections before having surgery,

    Without knowing for sure where the pain is coming from and just going in there to do surgery and surgery is done on the wrong level then you would be in a world of trouble,

    Good luck
    Flexicore ADR 2004 resulting nerve damage l4l5 Fusion 2006 same level, 2009 hardware removal with lami !
    2012 scs implant ,
  • Alex is right there are many processes that you have to go through to determine which nerve is causing the pain. There are so many nerves back there and it is not easy to determine which is causing the pain. I did have an ablation, and it did help not for a long period though. It is like a injection pretty much, they said it was suppose to last two years (the nerve grows back) Something like that. Well it didn't last a year maybe 6 months if that.3
    Word of advice do not jump to a decision, please weigh all the odds, I can only speak from my experience and I wish I never had the surgery in the first place, the pain now is ten times worse then the pain I had prior to my first surgery. The risks are huge with the next surgery I am looking at, and my only options are to live like this at 39 years old or have the surgery... those per the doctors I have seen are my only options.
    I just got married in Aug, my youngest kids are 12 and 14 I have 4 grand kids that love to come and play at grandmas... and my two youngest children's father passed away in April 2011, so now I have to decide take the chance of being paralyzed or just live like this where I can't do anything with my kids or grand kids because "my back hurts"
    Please weigh all the odds, many of us say yes we want the pain gone we want to be better, for some it is a miracle and for some a night mare.
    I was like you saying to everyone " just do the surgery I just want it over and move on" lol I am not moving too fast these days ... weigh the odds do everything you can leave surgery for last, if something works stick with it ... I do not recommend surgery until a last and final resort and neither do doctors..
    Have a great pain free day
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  • I'm with the above opinions - a nerve block is diagnostic to see if a nerve burn (ablasion) will work, so basically they'd be testing to see if it will help you. I'd jump at the chance (and did before my surgery). Mine didn't help, but then the stenosis was too bad, they really had to go in an cut some bone out to make room for the nerves, so the ablasion was useless for me.

    But giving it a chance before surgery I think is imperative, especially in the thoracic area. It can't hurt (well, it may be a bit painful at first), but it won't make things worse and perhaps will actually help.

    Take care and let us know what you decide and if it helps you if you have it done.

  • I've had 5 RFAs, 4 in my neck (2 on each side, 3 levels each), and just had my first done in my SI joint last Wednesday. They have done wonders for me, giving anywhere from 4 - 6 months of relief. Do they fix the problem? No, but they did provide me with relief and did prolong surgery. You can only try, right?
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • I have had several rhyzotomies in various parts of my spine. Some have worked, some haven't but its always worth a try. I will be trying it again in my SI joint as the next step in my pain control. I have already had successful cortisone injections in the SI joint so we know that is where the pain is coming from.

    Good luck.

    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
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  • I think it is always worth trying something more conservative prior to having spine surgery. I had RFA on C2-3-4-5 about 4 months ago. The relief I received has been wonderful! It didn't take all the pain away, but it certainly helped in that area. The doctor warned me that the procedure would be very painful, but once I was numbed up good, the rest of the procedure wasn't too bad.

    Only you can decide what to do, but it sounds as if many of us are suggesting to try other things before surgery. I know I won't be having more surgery if I can avoid it!

    Good luck Kim.

    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Ablation works for some people, others it does nothing. I would definitely give a try, you have nothing to lose!
    In my personal experience, it helped me for a few months, and I was happy just to have a short period of pain relief. Nowadays, I am grateful for just a few HOURS of pain relief.
    Try the ablation, if that doesn't help then consider surgery, IMHO.

    ACDF C5-C6 01/2002
    ACDF C6-C7 12/2011
    Prognosis: Permanent nerve damage in hands/arms, all treatment options exhausted-- lifetime CPP
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