Radiofrequency lesioning

Radiofrequency lesioning

Radiofrequency lesioning is an outpatient procedure to treat pain, performed most frequently in a fluoroscopy room. Numbing medication is injected followed by a radiofrequency needle at the suspected pain site. After confirmation that the needle tip is positioned correctly, an electrode is inserted into the needle. The proper location is confirmed by fluoroscopy. Using electrical stimulation, the correct nerve is identified by the patient in response to a "tingling" or "buzzing" sensation. This sensation does not typically produce any pain.

The tissues surrounding the needle tip are then heated or pulsed when electric current is passed using the radiofrequency machine for 60 to 120 seconds. This will numb the nerves.

Lesioning most commonly occurs at the medial branches of the nerve roots of the cervical, lumbar and thoracic spine. This is a common procedure to alleviate back pain brought on by degenerative disc disease, facet arthropathy or generalize facet disease.

Typically, a procedure such as this is preceded by a motor sensory nerve stimulation to test the overall functioning of the nerves in this area.

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