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What happens during radiofrequency ablation (RFA)?

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After you receive local anesthesia, the doctor will insert a small needle into the general area where you are experiencing pain. Using X-ray, your doctor will guide the needle to the exact target area. A microelectrode is then inserted through the needle to begin the stimulation process.

During the procedure, your doctor will ask if you are able to feel a tingling sensation. The object of the stimulation process is to help the doctor determine if the electrode is in the correct area for treatment.

Once the needle and electrode placement are verified, a small radiofrequency current is sent through the electrode into the surrounding tissue, causing the tissue to heat. You should not feel discomfort during the heating portion of the procedure.

From: Radiofrequency Ablation for Arthritis Pain WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David Zelman on September 11, 2019

Medically Reviewed on 9/11/2019

SOURCES:  Cleveland Clinic Department of Pain Management. Society of Interventional Radiology.

Reviewed by David Zelman on September 11, 2019

SOURCES:  Cleveland Clinic Department of Pain Management. Society of Interventional Radiology.

Reviewed by David Zelman on September 11, 2019

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