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Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation


If you have been struggling with chronic back, spine, neck, hip or knee pain and would prefer to avoid opioids or surgery, cooled radiofrequency ablation, also known as radiofrequency lesioning (RFL), might be the right option for you.

This minimally invasive outpatient procedure is generally quick and painless as there is no incision required and only a local anesthetic administered. Recovery time is also rapid, and any discomfort you experience can be treated with over-the-counter medication.

Patients who undergo cooled radiofrequency ablation report pain relief and improved mobility for up to a year following the procedure. Your body may eventually regenerate the problem nerves that were previously sending pain signals to your brain, in which case you could elect for the RFL procedure again. 

Preparing for the Procedure

On the day of your RFL procedure, do not eat within six hours before your scheduled appointment; you may drink water or other clear liquids until two hours before the procedure, as authorized by your physician. Please make plans to have someone drive you home.

Although the procedure itself takes only about an hour, you will need to allow several hours total for your appointment. This time includes registration, physician consultation and examination, the procedure and recovery time.

Note: If you take blood-thinning or diabetic medication, it’s important that you notify us before your procedure so we can provide you with additional instructions.

What Happens During the RFL Procedure?

We will numb the affected area and insert a thin probe near the irritated nerves. The radiofrequency energy will then be applied to the affected nerves, where it will heat the nerves and destroy them while simultaneously circulating water through the area to cool it. This combination of heating and cooling targets the pain-causing nerves without excessive heating that often occurs with traditional radiofrequency techniques.

What Happens After the Procedure?

Following the procedure, you will go to a recovery room, and after your anesthesia wears off, you will be able to go home. You may notice some swelling and bruising at the site, and you may feel some discomfort there for one to two weeks. Over-the-counter medications and ice applied to the area can help reduce any discomfort. Your physician will recommend rest based on your unique needs.

What Are the Outcomes of the RFL Procedure?

After your RFL procedure, you should begin to feel pain relief after one to two weeks. 


As a Physician at Northside Spine and Pain Specialists, Dr. Dua focuses on treating patients using minimally invasive spine and neck procedures that treat chronic neck and back.  Dr. Dua has extensive knowledge and experience with abdominal and pelvic pain.  He sub-specializes in treating patients with chronic pain syndrome resulting from an injury, cancer, cancer treatment, or other health conditions.

 

SUSHEEL DUA, M.D.
Board Certified in Anesthesiology

Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and The World Institute of Pain