Radiofrequency Ablation

in Memphis and Union City, TN and Blytheville, AR

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Radiofrequency Ablation

If you live with a chronic pain condition in your neck, back, or joints, you may benefit from radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive treatment that disrupts the pain signals traveling between your brain and body. At Southern Vascular & Pain Management in Blytheville, Arkansas and Memphis and Union City, Tennessee, Thomas Hodgkiss, MD, is a board-certified pain management physician who can diagnose the cause of your pain and offer expert treatments, including radiofrequency ablation, to alleviate your discomfort and restore your quality of life. Call or schedule an appointment online today.

Radiofrequency Ablation Q&A

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to disrupt the pain signals that travel between your brain and body. 

The radiofrequency energy damages the nerve cells that are sending the pain signals, effectively relieving your pain. The treatment is relatively quick and provides almost immediate pain relief.

What conditions improve with radiofrequency ablation?

Dr. Hodgkiss suggests radiofrequency ablation to address pain in your cervical (neck), thoracic (middle), and lumbar (lower) spine as well as your knees and other joints. 

For example, if you have arthritis in your spine or other joints in your body, the treatment interrupts the pain messages created by inflammation and irritation in your joints.

If you’ve had nerve blocks in the past that temporarily alleviate your pain, radiofrequency ablation may be a suitable method of providing long-lasting relief. Dr. Hodgkiss can treat several nerves during the same procedure.

What happens during radiofrequency ablation?

Dr. Hodgkiss conducts a comprehensive exam and consultation to ensure radiofrequency ablation is right for you before scheduling your procedure. He may order diagnosing imaging studies such as MRIs and X-rays to confirm the condition causing your pain.

During your treatment, you wear a hospital gown and lie on an X-ray table. Dr. Hodgkiss prepares you for your radiofrequency ablation by providing a local anesthetic and a mild sedative to ensure you stay comfortable and relaxed. He also injects a contrast dye to create clear X-ray images.

Then, Dr. Hodgkiss uses fluoroscopy, a special type of X-ray, to insert a thin, hollow needle into the precise location of your pain. When the needle is in place, he releases the radiofrequency current, which heats your malfunctioning nerve for approximately 90 seconds and creates a small burn called a lesion. The lesion stops the pain signals from traveling to your brain.

What should I expect after radiofrequency ablation?

You should be able to get up and walk around immediately after your radiofrequency ablation treatment. You spend a little time in recovery as your sedative wears off before Dr. Hodgkiss releases you and a friend or family member can drive you home.

You may have some tenderness at the injection site, but any discomfort fades quickly and is less disruptive than the pain that led to your treatment in the first place.

Call Southern Vascular & Pain Management or schedule a consultation online today to find out if radiofrequency ablation is right for you.