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Radiofrequency Ablation (Neurotomy)

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) or radiofrequency neurotomy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to destroy small nerves from the facet joints or sacroiliac joints. The heat is directed at the nerve that is causing pain, so nearby healthy nerves are not damaged during the procedure.

Before the procedure
  • You will be asked to hold aspirin and other blood thinning medications. Clearance may be required from your physician.
  • Food and drink restrictions will be implemented.
  • Anxiety reducing medication may be prescribed and sent to your preferred pharmacy with instructions given for taking the day of the procedure.
  • You will be asked to have a driver available to get you home safely post procedure.
What to expect
  • You will first be taken to the pre-procedure area where we will take your vital signs, have you sign the consent form, and answer questions about the procedure.
  • Once in the procedure area, your skin will be cleaned with antibacterial soap and medications will be prepared.
  • The procedure typically takes about 30 minutes.
  • You will be asked to provide feedback during the testing portion of the procedure to determine the accurate location of nerve destruction.
  • It will be carried out using x-ray guidance.
  • Your vital signs will be monitored and staff will walk you through all aspects of the procedure as they are happening.
  • You will be allowed to leave 10-30 minutes post procedure or as determined safe by staff.
After the procedure
  • You will be given written discharge instructions to refer to post procedure.
  • Rest and limiting strenuous activity for a few days is typically recommended.
  • Ice and medications previously used for pain may be used immediately and for the next few days as needed.
  • You may have discomfort for a few days post procedure which is typically relieved with over the counter pain medication. It takes a few weeks for the nerves to heal post procedure. You should start to notice an improvement in symptoms within 4-6 weeks.
  • Follow up with your referring provider to document your response and discuss your treatment plan.