Pulsed radiofrequency (RF) is a wellestablished treatment for joint and nerve pain. The procedure differs from radiofrequency neurotomy (RFN) treatment where the probe is heated. Pulsed RF treatment applies an intermittent electrical pulse to the probe, thereby avoiding heating the nerve. This in turn, minimises further nerve damage.
RF treatment doesn’t cause weakness or loss of normal sensations, and has been shown to reduce pain.
You should avoid eating or drinking for six hours prior to the procedure. We also advise that you have a responsible adult to look after you for the 24 hours following the procedure. During this 24 hours, you shouldn’t drive, or make important decisions.
If you are diabetic or take or blood-thinning medications, you should discuss this with the doctor.
RF treatment is performed under sterile conditions in an operating theatre using mild sedation and / or local anaesthetics. Fluoroscopic x-ray guidance allows the operator to accurately position a needle (probe) near the site of the affected nerve or joint.
A number of studies have been performed on the efficacy of RF treatment.
Epidural Pulsed RF (PRF) at the dorsal nerve roots and dorsal root ganglia (DRG) can be used to treat radicular neuropathy.1,2,3 Epidural placement enables treatment of multiple spinal levels via a single needle, and targetry of nerves inaccessible due to normal anatomy, foraminal stenosis, or hardware.1,2,3 Temperature control at 42°C limits thermal effects and ensures safety.1,2,3,4
The average duration of pain relief is between four and 26 months, depending upon which nerve is being treated. However, pain relief may range from anywhere between four weeks to 18 months. In some cases, there is no benefit.
Generally, you will be discharged from the hospital within two hours and may resume normal activities on the following day. Simple analgesics are often required for a few days. If you’ve been using stronger analgesics, you may require stronger analgesia for a few days.
Please note the contents contained in this Patient Fact Sheet are not intended as a substitute for your own independent health professional’s advice, diagnosis or treatment. At Metro Pain Group, we assess every patient’s condition individually. As leaders in pain intervention, we aim to provide advanced, innovative, and evidence-based treatments tailored to suit each patient. As such, recommended treatments and their outcomes will vary from patient to patient. If you would like to find out whether our treatments are suitable for your specific condition, please speak to one of our doctors at the time of your consultation.