A minimally invasive procedure, radiofrequency ablation can help eliminate pain caused by damaged facet joints along the spine. It involves the use of heat from a high-frequency alternating current, and is easily performed in an outpatient setting, utilizing local anesthesia.
In this treatment, a needle-like cannula tube in inserted near the irritated nerves. Once the doctor has determined the proper positioning of the tube via X-ray or fluoroscope, an electrode is used to cauterize the nerve or nerves, thus preventing pain signals from continuing to reach the brain. Multiple nerves may be treated, and in some cases, RFA has been found to last even longer steroid block injections.