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Facet Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation uses a low level of electric current to heat up a small area of nerve tissue and stop the nerve from sending pain signals. Risks of complication from radiofrequency ablation are very low, but can include infection, bleeding and neuritis.

The procedure involves lying face down on an X-ray table. Your back is scrubbed with an antibacterial cleanser, and your physician uses an X-ray camera to identify the targets for injection. A local anesthetic is used to numb the skin. Thin needles are placed next to the medial branch nerves, and a microelectrode is placed through the needle. A small radiofrequency current heats the nerve tissue.

The procedure usually takes 20 minutes, and you can return to your normal activities the next day. The duration of pain relief is different for each patient but can last from six months to one year or more.

For brief educational videos, click the links below:

https://www.spine-health.com/video/lumbar-radiofrequency-neurotomy-video

https://www.spine-health.com/video/cervical-facet-radiofrequency-neurotomy-video

The links to these videos are for educational purposes only. See disclaimer.

  • Video disclaimer

    The links to the videos on this page are for informational purposes only. The video content is not intended to be professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The links will take you to Veritas Health content. Veritas Health publishes educational health information to help patients better understand symptoms, conditions, and a variety of treatment options. Their content is authored by expert health professionals but does not reflect the opinions of UK HealthCare or our providers. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health. Reliance on the content is solely at your own risk.