When you come in for the procedure, you will have the opportunity to speak with a clinical staff member in order to have any questions answered, and you will sign a consent form. In the procedure room, you will lie on the treatment table, and the area on your body to undergo the treatment will be sterilized. A radiology tech will be present to guide the fluoroscope (x-ray machine) that your doctor will be using to visualize the needle. You will be given a local anesthetic to decrease the pain of the procedure. The needle will be placed against the nerve that is causing you pain, and will produce heat to disable the nerve’s ability to transmit pain. It takes about a minute and a half for the heat to work on the nerve, and each nerve must be treated at more than one site to increase the chances of pain relief.
Some patients may find this procedure to be painful. If you do feel pain, you should tell your doctor, as he may be able to make adjustments to reduce your discomfort. An entire RFA procedure usually takes about 30 to 45 minutes. When it is finished, the needle is removed and the site is covered by a sterile bandage. Following the procedure, you will be able to rest in a recovery area. You will be provided with discharge instructions. You will need to have a responsible adult with you to drive you home.