Radiofrequency Lesioning (RF)

Radiofrequency lesioning is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed using a specialized machine called radiofrequency lesion generator to treat pain by destroying the sensory nerve endings of painful joints in the spine.

Candidate for radiofrequency lesioning

Radiofrequency lesioning is offered to following patients:

  • Patients with following reasons of low back or neck pain

    • Facet joint pain

    • Discogenic pain

    • Coccydodynia

    • Sympathetically mediated pain

  • Patients who have responded well to diagnostic local anaesthetic

Procedure of radiofrequency lesioning

It is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed under local anaesthesia and mild sedation in an outpatient setting. With guidance from fluoroscopy, the needles are positioned at the nerve positions and extremely low voltages are applied to the needle to test for proper placement. Now a small amount of local anaesthetic is injected to sufficiently numb the nerve. This is followed by application of higher radiofrequency voltages to heat the nerve up to the desired temperature (usually 80C). Within 2-3 minutes of heat, the nerve stops carrying pain signals. Although body tends to re-grow blocked nerves but this may take up to a year or longer.

The procedure can take from about 30 minutes to an hour and its effect can last from 9-18 months.

Benefits of radiofrequency lesioning

  • Reduces pain, and other related symptoms

  • Allow improvement in day-to-day activities

  • Approximately 70-80% success rate