LUMBAR RAMUS COMMUNICANS
RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION

Why is this procedure done?
Radiofrequency Ablation, RF or “nerve burning” is a procedure where a special needle is used to generate heat to “break” or disrupt a nerve. If the nerve is disrupted, pain impulses from the painful disc cannot be sent to the brain. This may decrease or stop the pain for 6 to 12 months.

How do I prepare for this procedure?
You should not eat for 4 hours before the procedure. You can take any routine medications before the procedure. You will need to bring a driver to take you home. If you have any changes in your medical condition or are feeling sick, you should contact our office to inform our staff. You should stop all blood thinners, such as: Coumadin, Plavix, aspirin and most arthritis medications. You should stop herbal medicines and supplements one week before the procedure.

What happens during this procedure?
For a Radiofrequency Ablation you will lie on the exam table on your stomach. Please stay as still as you can. The skin over the injection site(s) is cleaned. A local anesthetic numbs the skin. After the numbing medicine has been given time to be effective, the physician directs a special RF needle, using x-ray guidance to the side of the vertebra, where the ramus communicans nerve is located.. To ensure the RF needle and heat probe is in the proper location, a trial stimulation of the sensory (“feeling”) and motor nerves is completed. You may feel a buzz, vibrate, aching or pressure. Once the probes are optimally placed the radiofrequency lesioning will begin. When completed, the probes will be removed, the area will be cleaned, and a band-aid will be placed. You will then be taken to the recovery area.

What are the side effects?
In general, radiofrequency ablation is a very safe procedure. Serious side effects or complications are rare with radiofrequency ablation. However, similar to all injection procedures, although unlikely, adverse effects are possible. The risks include but are not limited to: allergic reaction to the medication, bruising at the injection site, and infection. To help prevent infection the procedure is performed under sterile conditions. Please discuss any specific concerns with your physician.

What happens after this procedure?
fter the procedure, you will be able to go home and rest. You may do desk or table level activities. You should not return to work until the next day. You will need a driver to take you home. If you are sore after the injection, you may apply ice to the area.

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