Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive medical procedure used to treat chronic pain and certain other medical conditions. It involves the use of radiofrequency energy to heat and destroy specific nerves or tissues, thereby reducing or eliminating pain signals from that area.

How Radiofrequency Ablation Works:


  • The patient is positioned to allow access to the target area.
  • Local anesthesia is applied to numb the skin and tissues at the insertion site.
  • Sometimes, sedation is given to help the patient relax.


  • Imaging techniques such as fluoroscopy (X-ray) or ultrasound are used to precisely locate the nerve or tissue to be treated.

Needle Insertion:

  • A thin needle or probe is inserted through the skin and guided to the target area.

Stimulation Test:

  • Before applying radiofrequency energy, a mild electrical current is sent through the needle to confirm the correct nerve or tissue by temporarily reproducing the pain without causing damage.


  • Once the target is confirmed, the radiofrequency energy is delivered through the needle, heating the nerve or tissue to create a lesion.
  • This heat disrupts the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals to the brain.

Conditions Treated by Radiofrequency Ablation:

RFA is commonly used for various chronic pain conditions, including:

  • Facet Joint Pain: Pain originating from the small joints in the spine.
  • Sacroiliac Joint Pain: Pain from the sacroiliac joints, located where the lower spine and pelvis connect.
  • Chronic Back Pain: Particularly from degenerative disc disease or arthritis.
  • Neck Pain: From conditions like cervical facet syndrome.
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia: A chronic pain condition affecting the trigeminal nerve in the face.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: Pain from nerve damage in the peripheral nervous system.

Benefits and Risks of Radiofrequency Ablation:


  • Minimally invasive with a short recovery time.
  • Can provide significant and long-lasting pain relief.
  • Reduces the need for oral pain medications.
  • Allows for improved function and quality of life.
  • Typically performed on an outpatient basis.

Risks and Complications:

  • Infection at the insertion site.
  • Bleeding or bruising.
  • Temporary increase in pain or discomfort at the treatment site.
  • Nerve damage or weakness in the treated area.
  • Allergic reactions to medications used during the procedure.
  • In rare cases, the procedure may not provide significant pain relief.


RFA is typically considered when other conservative treatments (e.g., medications, physical therapy) have not provided adequate pain relief. It is important for patients to undergo a thorough evaluation, including diagnostic nerve blocks, to confirm that the target nerves are the source of pain and that they respond positively to this type of treatment.

Accepting New Patients

Radiofrequency ablation is an effective treatment option for managing various types of chronic pain. It works by disrupting pain signals, providing significant and often long-lasting relief. Patients considering Radiofrequency Ablation should discuss the potential benefits and risks with our pain management physician team to determine if it is the right treatment for their specific pain condition.

Pain Treatment Institute is committed to offering the latest advancements in medication management. Our pain management clinics are accepting new patients. Contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Our Pain Management Physicians

Dr Preston Harmon Top Pain Management Doctor in Frisco McKinney Plano Sherman and Rockwall
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