What is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?
Radiofrequency ablation is an effective treatment for chronic back pain from degenerative disc disease. A diagnostic test known as medial branch block is performed prior to receiving RFA. During this procedure pain causing nerve roots are destroyed using radio frequency waves. This procedure is also used to treat neurological conditions such as cerebral palsey and is sometimes referred to as facet rhizotomy when used to treat back pain.
Facet radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure, performed using a simple probe heated with radio waves to effectively sever the nerve root found between the facet joint and vertebral body. Radiofrequency ablation provides several months of relief from back pain. The nerves will eventually grow back but the pain may or may not return. If the pain does return, you may want to have the procedure repeated (usually with equal success).