Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA), otherwise known as rhizotomy, is a minimally invasive procedure in which heating is used to treat small sensory nerves to painful joints. Heating the nerves prevents the nerves from effectively sending their pain signals to the brain, therefore, reducing the pain.
The minimally invasive procedure can be used to treat spine (neck, low back, and sacroiliac joint) pain and joint pain (knee) originating from arthritis, other degenerative changes, or injury.
RFA is performed in an outpatient setting with local anesthetic and light sedation. Patients are typically treated with anti-inflammatory medications during the healing process and physical therapy is initiated soon after.
Patients may experience some discomfort following the procedure but soon goes away. Results typically last between 8 months to 12 months depending on the area treated. The procedure can be repeated if pain returns.