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RFA

ECHEECH Posts: 19
edited 04/04/2014 - 6:02 PM in Pain Management
Has anyone tried RFA radiofrequency ablation for pain? If so, please give details.
2007 TLIF L2-L3 Fusion; 2012 C4 Corpectomy, C3-5 Fusion.
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1

Comments

  • RFA-Radio frequency ablations are done when the facets are suspected of being the cause of pain. It involves a test injection that numbs the nerve fibers in the facet joint, and if you get pain relief for a few hours during the injection, then the rfa procedure is done at a later time. Usually , the rfa offers pain relief for several months up to a year and can be repeated as needed.
  • The tests you have to do ahead of time are painful and tough to go through, but the actual RFA procedures are easy as they can numb/sedate you. Not so during the work ups, during which you need to be able to sense pain and relief fully
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
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  • I've had a couple different rounds of RFA and it didn't help me out very much. It's strange because Facet Joint Injections w/cortisone help me out considerably and lasts for about 6 months. The first time I had it done I was given 5mg oral valium right before the procedure. The procedure didn't feel good, but it wasn't horrible either. The next series I got Versed and Fentanyl cocktail. Still felt it, but I didn't care!

    Keith
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I have RFAs done every 6 months at C2-C7 bilaterally. I have had this done for the past 7 years. I have Botox therapy at 3 month intervals also. I had NO quality of life before we started this regimen due to a spinal cord injury. My dr prescribes a Medrol dose pack (prednisone) to take for 6 days post RFAs. It really helps with the burning and tightness which I definitely have for a few days afterwards. I describe it as mini volcanoes erupting in my neck. However, it tremendously helps my daily pain when the nerves die off. I have myofacial pain, severe cerviogenic migraines (15+) a month, numbness in my hands with shooting pain, severe muscle spasms, etc. I was unable to do anything without triggering a migraine. Literally using my arms for simple takes such as writing, stirring dinner, forget using the computer, etc all caused horrible pain followed by hours of vomiting. The RFAs give me back a life. I still have pain. But it normally improves for a good 5 months post RFA. The positive results took a while to build up in me. The first ones only lasted about 2 months. I don't know if my nerves just decided to wave the white flag as time went by or it took my body a while to adjust. But it is definitely worth it to me to have them done!!
  • My Surgeon discussed an RFA for SI Joint Dysfunction, but through research it seems unclear how successful they are.
    Progressive DDD
    Osteoarthritis
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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  • I would suggest that you go with what your doctor recommends. We are all different and our individual circumstances vary. He/she may feel very good about it working good for you given your situation.

    This website is wonderful for learning about procedures and people, but at the end of the day, only your doctor has examined you and have seen the test results. I would suggest having a frank discussion with the doctor and see what is said about the potential for providing relief for you.

    Good luck!

    Keith
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • My RFA procedures were also only minimally effective and I quickly knew that after they were done (one month apart for each side). I wish you luck if you end up doing it
    2015: Thoracic protrusions C7-T1, T3-4, T6-8
    Dec'13: 360FusionL4-S1 w/bone graft
    2013: 3x2-level disc injections: 12mo surgery postponement
    Dec'12: DiscogramL4-S1
    Sep/Oct'12: Bi-lateral Rhizo AblationsL4- S1
  • LC84LLC84 Posts: 599
    edited 04/05/2014 - 5:18 PM
    I'm not at that point yet. I had 2 SI joint injections prior to surgery, but they didn't provide much relief. I'm going for a 3rd SI injection. I'm not too optimistic that it will help but I've always followed my surgeon's instructions. The RFA was something he mentioned potentially down the line. I don't limit my research to this site, I looked at different case studies etc. SI joint issues can be somewhat difficult to diagnose and treat (nothing showed on imaging, and in many cases it doesn't), so the primary evidence to support my diagnosis has been through physical exam. I hope this 3rd injection will be more of a success then the first 2, at least to help with the diagnosis. The main reason I research is so I can ask the proper questions at my visits, and it helps divert my attention away from the pain.
    Progressive DDD
    Osteoarthritis
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • I think you are being wise to educate yourself about what the doc's want to do. I also think the key to good research is going to websites that are factual. There are some sites out there that are just plain wacked out. I hope the third round works better for you!

    Keith
    Several Epidurals, L4-S1 360 ALIF, Numerous Facet Joint Injections, RFA x2
  • I agree about whacked out sites, I find it hilarious when things are misspelled, that's a major RED FLAG. Peer reviewed articles from different universities or actual medical websites seem to be useful. I also look for .org as apposed to .com in some cases. Anyway, I enjoy researching. And thanks, I hope so too!
    Progressive DDD
    Osteoarthritis
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
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