Radiofrequency Neuroablation is intended to decrease or stop pain originating from facet joints of the spine. Radiofrequency ablation can be used to help patients with chronic (long lasting) low back and neck pain related to the degeneration of joints from arthritis. It is mostly performed after the patient has demonstrated pain relief from a diagnostic facet injection, which involves using a local anesthetic. If so, the patient is a good candidate for a radiofrequency ablation. During the radiofrequency ablation, an electrode is inserted in the area near the irritated nerve in the facet joint. The electrode heats up a small area of nerve tissue, decreasing the pain signals from that specific area. The specific degree of pain relief varies, depending on the cause and location of the pain. Pain relief from a radiofrequency ablation can last from 6-12 months, and in some cases, relief can last for years. Nerves do regenerate after a radiofrequency ablation has been performed. The time it takes to regenerate itself varies in time. Pain may or may not return once the nerve regenerates itself. After this procedure, it is not uncommon to experience an increase in pain symptoms for 1-2 weeks after. If pain does return, another radiofrequency ablation can be repeated.
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