Am I a Candidate for Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation, abbreviated as RA or RFA, has gained significant recognition for its effectiveness in treating various conditions that cause chronic pain or dysfunction. It utilizes electrical currents to heat targeted nerve tissues, disrupting their ability to transmit pain signals and providing relief for patients.
If you suffer from chronic pain or certain medical conditions like osteoarthritis or degenerative disc disease, RFA might be a viable treatment worth considering. NJ Spine & Orthopedics can help you evaluate your medical records to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for radiofrequency ablation.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that targets specific nerves causing chronic pain or dysfunction. The minimally invasive technique is employed for chronic pain stemming from arthritis, back pain, or certain cardiac arrhythmias.

The generated heat from this procedure causes targeted destruction of the problematic nerve or tissue, thereby alleviating pain or correcting abnormal heart rhythms. It offers long-term pain relief or enhances function with minimal discomfort and a relatively short recovery period. Most RFA patients report improved functionality and pain relief lasting anywhere from nine months to more than two years. RFA has been shown to be 70–80% effective in people who receive nerve block treatments. 

Medical Conditions That May Qualify For Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation excels in assisting with chronic pain management, particularly in conditions such as osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and facet joint pain. If you suffer from any of these conditions or have other symptoms relating to them, you may be a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation.

Degenerative disc disease that affects the intervertebral discs of the spine can cause extreme back or neck pain. Radiofrequency ablation can offer relief by targeting the nerves around the affected discs. Facet joint disease is a common cause of spinal pain, and this type of treatment can be used to disrupt the nerves supplying these joints. 

Radiofrequency ablation can also be used to:

  • Ablate the abnormal electrical pathways in the heart and restore a regular rhythm for a condition called atrial fibrillation (AFib) 
  • Treat liver, lung, kidney, and bone cancers in patients who are not eligible for surgical resection or individuals with early-stage cancer or inoperable tumors. This is because RFA destroys cancerous cells using heat generated by radiofrequency energy.
  • Remedy chronic varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)

Radiofrequency ablation effectively ablates diseased veins and redirects blood flow to healthier vessels. 

How Is Radiofrequency Ablation Candidacy Determined?

The evaluation process to determine radiofrequency ablation eligibility involves a thorough medical history review, physical examination, and diagnostic tests such as imaging studies or nerve blocks. X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans. This allows the physician to visualize the affected area, like the spine or joints, and identify any structural abnormalities or signs of inflammation, degeneration, or nerve compression.

This information helps doctors understand the source of the pain and whether RFA could adequately target the problem area. On the other hand, nerve blocks involve injecting an anesthetic (or anti-inflammatory medication) near a specific nerve or nerve root suspected to be causing the pain. If the patient expresses substantial pain relief after the nerve block, it confirms that the targeted nerve is indeed the source of pain.

This response to the nerve block is a positive indicator that RFA might be beneficial in providing long-lasting pain relief for that specific nerve or nerve pathway. In addition to imaging studies or nerve block tests, the assessment may consider the severity and duration of the pain, previous treatments, and the potential benefits and risks of RFA. 

Consult a Radiofrequency Ablation Specialist at NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today

Radiofrequency ablation is a promising treatment for various medical conditions that cause chronic pain and dysfunction. Knowing whether you are a suitable candidate for RFA involves evaluating the severity of your medical condition, previous treatments, and medical history, including potential risks and benefits. If you’re experiencing unexplained pain or have any of the above-mentioned medical conditions, an NJ Spine & Orthopedic specialist can help you determine if RFA is a viable treatment option.

We understand the impact chronic pain can have on your life. Our award-winning medical team is dedicated to exploring the most effective treatment for your needs. Anyone considering radiofrequency ablation or having questions about their eligibility should call us at (866) 553-0612 or fill out our online contact form to book an appointment.

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