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What to Expect After Radiofrequency Ablation

Oct 01, 2023
What to Expect After Radiofrequency Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation uses minimally invasive techniques to help manage chronic pain. If ablation treatment is in your future, here’s what to expect during healing and recovery.

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain, and for many of those women and men, finding a treatment that provides long-lasting relief can be difficult or even impossible. That’s often because many pain treatments focus on relieving the symptoms instead of treating the underlying source of pain.

At Metro Spine PC, our team uses state-of-the-art radiofrequency ablation therapy to help patients in Oxon Hill and Clinton, Maryland, finally find the relief they’re seeking. If radiofrequency ablation is in your future, here’s what you should know about RFA technology and what to expect during your recovery.

How radiofrequency ablation works

Pain “happens” when nerves at an area of tissue damage send “chemical messengers” to our brain via nerve pathways. When the brain receives those messages, they’re interpreted as pain. Radiofrequency ablation works by blocking those pain signals, preventing the brain from receiving the chemicals that cause us to feel pain sensations.

During your treatment, our team inserts a special probe into the nerve that’s responsible for your pain. The probe emits a burst of heat energy that destroys the nerve ending, preventing it from sending pain signals. 

To ensure the correct nerve is treated, we use special imaging technology for precise placement of the probe. The procedure is performed without incisions using local anesthetics to numb the area and keep you comfortable. 

After your treatment: What to expect

Right after your treatment, you’ll spend some time in a recovery area where you’ll be monitored for a brief period before being discharged. You'll need to have someone on hand to drive you home.

Once the numbing agent wears off, you’ll probably have some minor discomfort around the injection site, along with mild swelling. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help, and so can application of cold or heat.

You’ll need to rest during your recovery, as well, avoiding strenuous activities that could strain the treatment area and make inflammation worse. Though many people resume most normal activities within a day or two, we’ll provide you with instructions regarding your activities, so you can gradually resume your regular activity level. 

As your healing continues, you’ll begin to experience a relief of your initial pain. In most cases, the full benefits of treatment take a few weeks to become apparent. Best of all, you can expect pain relief to last a year or more. Additional treatments can be performed as needed to help you stay free from pain.

Find relief for your chronic pain

Radiofrequency ablation is just one way our team helps patients relieve chronic, treatment-resistant pain. To learn more about this and other pain management techniques that can help you feel better, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Metro Spine PC today.