Millions of adults in the United States experience a variety of different types of chronic pain conditions. The pain related to these conditions can be ruthless and can have a damaging impact to an individual’s personal and professional lives. Additionally, chronic pain has a significant impact on the U.S. economy, resulting in improved healthcare utilization, including rehabilitation and decreased worker efficiency.
Patients distressing along chronic pain are time and again treated with a combination of medication, physical therapy, as well as epidural steroid injections and other conservative treatment options. On the other hand, not all patients sense relief from pain through these treatment methods. Radiofrequency lesioning is a minimally invasive procedure that may be used to treat chronic pain that has been unresponsive to conservative measures.
Let’s know what Radiofrequency lesioning is.
Radiofrequency lesioning is a process in which special needles are used to generate lesions along chosen nerves. The needles heat the nerve to 80°C (about the temperature of hot, not boiling, water). When this heat is enforced upon the nerve for about 2-3 minutes, the nerve stops shipping pain signals to the brain. The body aims to re-grow nerves that are blocked in this conduct but that process can take up to a year or longer.
Before advising radiofrequency ablation, diagnostic local anesthetic nerve blocks need to be implemented to make sure that the patient is an ideal applicant. An analytical nerve block involves injecting a local anesthetic into the region of the nerve that is assumed to be causing the patient’s pain. The local anesthetic in effect for the time being numbs the area and should result in reduced pain symptoms. The efficiency of radiofrequency lesioning can be predicted from a patient’s response to the impermanent nerve block procedure.
Radiofrequency lesioning is accessible to patients with certain types of low back or neck pain (predominantly pain from the facet joints). You must have responded well to analytical local anesthetic blocks to be a candidate for Radiofrequency lesioning. The effectiveness of Radiofrequency lesioning will depend on how well you retort to the “temporary” or diagnostic block.
The course of action disrupts nerve conduction (such as conduction of pain signals), and it may in turn into lesser pain than before, and other related symptoms. An estimate of 70-80% patients will achieve a good block of the intended nerve. This should help relieve that part of the pain that the blocked nerve controls. Sometimes after a nerve is blocked, it becomes clear that there is pain from the other areas as well. Based upon the areas to be treated, the process can take from about 30 minutes to an hour.
In view of the fact that nerves cannot be seen on x-ray, the needles are situated using bony landmarks that designate where the nerves usually are. Fluoroscopy (x-ray) is used to identify those bony landmarks. After needle placement, very little voltages are applied to the needle to test for proper placement. After verification of the needle tip position, a small amount of local anesthetic is injected. After the nerve is adequately numbed, higher radiofrequency voltages are applied and the nerve heats to the desired temperature.