Achieving Pain Relief with Radiofrequency Ablation

Aug 21, 2019

Aaron K. Compton, M.D.


Minimally Invasive Techniques

Chronic pain affects millions of Americans, resulting in a loss of function and enjoyment of life. In some circumstances, surgery is not always the answer, or may be considered high risk for patients with certain health issues. Fortunately, the understanding and treatment options for chronic pain conditions has significantly advanced in recent decades. At the Center for Orthopedic Spine & Pain, we offer several minimally invasive procedures that can provide significant pain relief for a variety of painful conditions. One such procedure we offer is radiofrequency ablation (RFA). RFA is a technique in which heat energy is directed through small needles to lesion or burn the nerves that are causing your pain. Once the nerves have been lesioned, they will no longer send the pain signal to the brain. Unlike other traditional injections, RFA does not require the use of any steroid or cortisone.

Pain Relief for Multiple Conditions

RFA is a technique that we commonly utilize for neck pain, back pain, knee pain, and a few other regions of the body. For neck and back pain, RFA addresses pain from the facet joints (Fig. 1). For knee pain, RFA addresses the genicular nerves (Fig. 2). Before deciding if RFA is appropriate for your pain condition, we will first extensively review your medical records (including imaging studies), and perform a thorough physical examination at an office visit. If your pain is suspected to be caused by a condition amenable to RFA, we will likely offer you this treatment option. Depending on your clinical presentation and your insurance, we typically begin by first performing a diagnostic “test” block. The test block is a simple injection of a local anesthetic or numbing medication to the nerves we are considering for RFA. This medication will temporarily stun the nerve for a few hours, which mimics the lesioning of RFA. If the temporary relief from the test injection provides substantial benefit, we will then schedule the RFA procedure.

Long Term Results

For the majority of patients who undergo RFA, the average duration of relief is 6-8 months, though some patients receive benefit for 2+ years. If the pain returns later, this is a sign that the nerves are starting to regrow. If this is the case, RFA can easily be repeated when needed.

X-ray Guided Procedures

Most procedures we perform at the Center for Spine and Orthopaedic Pain are performed using real-time x-ray guidance. This is true for both the test injections and RFA procedures. Intravenous sedation is also available, making it a comfortable experience. The procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes, and has very minimal recovery time.

What our patients are saying
Shaun H.
I was able to get a office visit on short notice. It seemed to be a very busy day. Rebecca took the time to listen to all of my issues and discuss a plan for additional treatment. I have always been impressed with her knowledge and bed side manner.
Reviews from Google
Joanna S.
Dr Goodin has replaced both of my knees this year with excellent results. He and Carly listen to my concerns, act promptly and work hard to make this journey the best it can be. Carly and Dr Goodin both have GREAT bedside manner and I feel I am in expert care with them.
Reviews from Facebook
Carolyn K.
Dr. Yakkanti did my knee replacement in June. He is an excellent surgeon with a great bedside manner. I have recovered nicely and plan to have my other knee replaced within the next year. I would highly recommend Dr. Yakkanti to anyone thinking about knee replacement!
Reviews from Facebook
Juanita S.
The New Albany office of Louisville Orthopedic is full of terrific people who know what excellent customer service is about! From the front desk to the lab, they are great. Doctor Lewis is my surgeon and I love him. He’s good at what he does and he’s compassionate. I would recommend him to anyone.
Reviews from Facebook
Erin Z.
This was my first time at Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic and I saw Melissa Parshall PA-C. I was very impressed with how fast I got in, had x-rays, and met with her. She was very thorough and extremely friendly. So glad A friend told me to come see you guys! Thank you!
Reviews from Facebook
See All Reviews
Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic

4130 Dutchman's Lane,
Suite 300,Louisville 40207
(502) 897-1794

Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic

1425 State St.,
,New Albany 47150
(812) 920-0408

Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic
4130 Dutchman's Lane
Suite 300
Louisville, KY 40207

Louisville Orthopaedic Clinic
1425 State St.
New Albany, IN 47150