Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a medical procedure in which part of the electrical conduction system is ablated by using radio waves to create an electrical current which delivers heat to targeted nerve tissues and thereby destroys or impairs the nerves.
Radiofrequency ablation as a therapy results in the temporary destruction of the nerves that are responsible for pain symptoms.
Indications of Radiofrequency ablation
Radiofrequency ablation therapy is used to treat a wide variety of conditions.
- Pain management -Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive therapy for the management of chronic pain symptoms, resulting in the temporary destruction of the nerves that are responsible for pain symptoms by using electrical current leads .
- Tumors -RFA performed to treat tumors in the lung, liver, kidney, and bone, as well as other body organs . RFA results in destruction of the tumor.
- Cardiac Arrhythmia -used to destroy abnormal electrical pathways that are leading to a cardiac arrhythmia.
- Varicose Veins - Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure used in the treatment of varicose veins.
- Aesthetics dermatology
Not appropriate for patients
- With active infections
- With clotting issues
- morbidly obese patients
There are two basic types of radio frequency ablation utilized, depending on the location and number of nerves that need to be treated.
- Continuous Radiofrequency
- Pulsed Radiofrequency Ablation which results in a temporary inhibition of the nerve’s ability for pain signal transmission, without causing serious nerve damage.
- The physician will explain the procedure its advantages and risks associated.
- Patients with diabetes or heart conditions need to get medical fitness.
- Adviced to stop taking blood thinners a week prior to procedure .
- NSAIDs need to be stopped prior to the procedure.
- Is an outpatient procedure, an anaesthetic given.
- Imaging techniques, fluoroscopic guidance, are utilized during radiofrequency ablation to help guide the needle and ensure proper needle insertion.
- Microelectrode is inserted through the needle.
- high frequency current that generates heat is transmitted through the electrodes directly into affected nerves or into the tissues that surround the affected nerves.
- The heat impairs or destroys the targeted nerves, resulting in a disruption of pain signal transmission, resulting in the relief of chronic pain.
- Minor bleeding
- Skin discoloration
- Bruising at the needle insertion site generally subside during the first few days after the procedure
- Leg numbness
- Vigorous activity should be avoided for a period of 24 hours after the procedure
- Avoid getting the injection site wet, as this will help to avoid infection
- Swimming should be avoided for 48 hours after the procedure
Complications of Radiofrequency Ablation
As with any procedure there are risks, side effects and the possibility of complications.
- Permanent nerve damage
- Chances of an electrical burn
Results of Radiofrequency Ablation
- Decrease in pain
- Decreased need for analgesic medication
- Improved quality of life
Factors affecting cost of Radiofrequency Ablation
The cost to the patient depends on a variety of factors like
- The hospital patient chooses
- Experience of physician
- Standard test and diagnostic procedure.
- Cost of procedure
- Cost of the follow up