What Is a Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure Like?

What Is a Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure Like?

Chronic joint pain can be extremely limiting in terms of activities and daily responsibilities like housework. When conventional treatments for back and joint pain, such as physical therapy and over-the-counter medications, can’t provide relief, it’s time to consider stopping the pain at the source.

Double board-certified pain management specialist Glenn M. Flanagan, MD, is familiar with treatment-resistant back and joint pain and understands the difficulties that occur when these problems are long-term. At Naples Regenerative Institute in Naples, Florida, he might be able to save you the costs and potential complications of back or joint surgery by providing radiofrequency ablation

Also called radiofrequency neurotomy, radiofrequency ablation halts pain signals by destroying the nerve endings sending them. Under his expert hand, the procedure is highly effective for eliminating chronic pain in your back, knee, or shoulder for up to two years. The nerve endings eventually regenerate and grow back, but you can repeat the treatment in the future for lasting relief. 

What to expect

If Dr. Flanagan has recommended radiofrequency ablation, or if you’re curious about your options, you might wonder what the treatment is like. Burning or ablating a nerve sounds like it could be an uncomfortable experience, but thanks to a pre-treatment nerve block, that isn’t the case. A nerve block is an injection of local anesthesia directly into the nerve.

Imaging tests also reduce treatment risks. To ensure he targets the correct area, Dr. Flanagan uses an X-ray during your treatment to see the needle after it penetrates your skin. That helps him target the nerve tissue without damaging other nearby tissues. 

Once the needle is in place, Dr. Flanagan transmits an electrical current through the needle to damage the nerve with heat. They stop sending pain signals through your spine and to the brain. 

After your treatment

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure and doesn’t require a hospital stay. You can go home and rest immediately. Be sure to take 1-3 days off work to rest up and recover. 

While you’ll get at least a little pain relief right away due to the nerve block, it can take up to 10 days for the results of radiofrequency ablation to take effect. Any pain that continues for these first 10 days of recovery is due to muscle spasms, not because the procedure was ineffective. You might receive some medications from Dr. Flanagan to manage any post-treatment discomfort. 

How to prepare

With a radiofrequency ablation appointment coming up, you’ll have to make a few easy changes to your routine. You can prepare for radiofrequency ablation by:

By following these steps, you set yourself up for a successful and complication-free treatment at Naples Regenerative Institute. 

Don’t let chronic back or joint pain keep you away from your favorite activities or a good night’s sleep. For years-long improvements, book an appointment by phone or online to discuss radiofrequency ablation with Dr. Flanagan at Naples Regenerative Institute today.

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