Nerve Ablation Q & A
What is Nerve Ablation?
Nerve ablation — also called radiofrequency ablation — is a minimally invasive treatment that uses heat to destroy the nerve fibers responsible for sending pain signals to your brain. The physicians at Comprehensive Pain Center uses nerve ablation to ease or eliminate back and neck pain as well as arthritic joint pain.
Radiofrequency ablation provides a range of benefits, including a reduced need for surgery, a rapid recovery, and decreased dependence on pain medication.
What Happens During Nerve Ablation?
Nerve ablation is a three-step process — preparation, needle insertion, and electrical current delivery. The whole process takes 15-45 minutes, depending on the number of nerves that need to be treated.
You stay awake during the procedure but your physician uses a local anesthetic to thoroughly numb the treatment area. They can offer you a mild sedative to help you stay calm and relaxed throughout the procedure.
Then they inject a contrast dye and use a fluoroscope to provide real-time images as they insert a thin, hollow needle into the precise site of the malfunctioning nerve. You could feel some pressure when your doctor inserts the needle, but the local anesthetic should ensure you don’t feel any pain.
When the needle is in place, your physician sends a radiofrequency current through the needle for about 90 seconds. The current converts to heat and makes a small and precise burn on your nerve called a lesion. The lesion disrupts the pain signals produced by that nerve.
What Should I Expect After a Nerve Ablation Treatment?
In most cases, nerve ablation provides immediate pain relief, and you can get up and walk around as soon as your procedure is done. You will spend a little time in a recovery room so your doctor can observe you as the anesthetic wears off. You could have some tenderness at your injection site, but in most cases, you should be back to your regular activities within 24-72 hours.
Am I a Good Candidate for Nerve Ablation?
If you have chronic nerve pain or have had successful pain relief from a nerve block, nerve ablation could be right for you. The physicians at Comprehensive Pain Center provide thorough exams and testing to ensure that nerve ablation will ease or eliminate your pain and help you get back to a healthy and active life.
If you’re interested in nerve ablation and want to know if it’s right for you, call Comprehensive Pain Center today.