What to Do When Radiofrequency Ablation Doesn’t Work

What to Do When Radiofrequency Ablation Doesn’t Work

Published: May 20, 2021

Pain is part of life and everyone feels pain at one point in their life. Pain tells you that something is not right in your body. Luckily, the pain goes away after going through medication. Chronic pain, however, does not go away for longer than 12 weeks even after taking medication. It’s especially true when the nerve damages, and you experience more pain.  There are several treatments used for chronic pain, one of them by using radio waves. You don’t have to worry if you have tried radiofrequency neurotomy without any results, you can still try other options.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is also known as radiofrequency neurotomy or fulguration is a treatment used to reduce pain by using an electrical current on a nerve. The procedure uses radio waves that produce an electrical current to erode the nerve. It is minimally invasive and effective for treating chronic pain. The goal of the treatment is to target the nerve which sends pain signals to the brain. The procedure works by turning off any pain signals. The treatment works differently for everyone and provides relief to people with pain in the lower back, arthritis, and neck.

How Long Does it Take for the Procedure to Work?

The pain relief effects from radiofrequency neurotomy are not always immediate. You’ll notice relief from the pain in about 10 days. There are still people who get relief after two or three weeks after doing the procedure. You may experience pain days after the procedure but that is normal and should not worry you. The success rate of people who get relief from the procedure is high up to 70%. It is successful for people with pain from arthritis, lower back, neck, and spine.

What to Expect After Treatments

Fulguration is a procedure with minimal risks. You may feel soreness that will last for a few days in the treatment area. Relief can be from 6 months to 12 months.

What if radiofrequency Neurotomy Does Not Work?

Radiofrequency ablation will not work for everyone but there are alternative treatments you can use to treat chronic pain. Here are some of them.

Epidural steroid injection

Epidural steroid injections are one of the treatments we offer to treat leg pain and lower back pain. The injection involves injecting a steroid medication into the epidural space surrounding the nerve roots. The goal of the procedure is to improve mobility and control pain. The doctor uses an X-ray machine to guide the needle and inject the right area.

Facet joint Injection

Facet joint injection is a steroid injected into the facet joints of your lumbar spine. The injection reduces inflammation and gives you pain relief. The injection only takes a few minutes and does not hurt. We use fluoroscopy to ensure the needle is injected in the correct place. You may need several injections over a few weeks to about 6 months.

Radiofrequency is used only after conventional pain relief methods like medication and local nerve blocks have failed. If you have not found relief after using fulguration, you should contact a pain management specialist who can help you choose other options to treat your pain. Give us a call at 210-441-4333 between 7:30am – 5:00pm CT. We specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain.

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