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Minimally-Invasive Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) at The Spine Hospital of Louisiana to Relieve Facet Joint Pain

March 30, 2017
Minimally-Invasive Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) at The Spine Hospital of Louisiana to Relieve Facet Joint Pain


RFA for Facet Joint Syndrome
Unlike pinched nerves which cause radiating pain, localized low back pain is typically caused by either the facet joints or medial branches.  Facet joints endure a lot throughout your life as they allow your spine to move and shift with your body movements. Without them, you would be stiff! Facet joints are located behind and between each vertebrae in the spine. Just like any other joint in your body, they can become inflamed.  Everyday wear and tear, arthritis, or injury can damage these joints. Medial branches protrude from each vertebrae and can also become inflamed. Facet and/or medial branch pain can be chronic and sometimes debilitating.

If you are one of the millions of Americans currently suffering with chronic facet joint pain, also known as facet joint syndrome, you have likely experienced the following symptoms:

  • Persistent pain on both sides of the spine
  • Inability to stand or walk for long periods of time
  • Difficulty bending and twisting
  • Back pain that fluctuates with the time of day/change of weather

If you are ready to find lasting relief from facet joint pain, The Spine Hospital of Louisiana offers minimally-invasive radiofrequency ablation (RFA) as a safe, effective alternative to spinal surgery.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?

Prior to your first RFA, your doctor will order a “test shot” using only numbing medication to mimic the RFA results and ensure that the correct nerves are being addressed. Once your physician is sure you are a good RFA candidate, he/she can proceed with the nerve burn.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA), also known as radiofrequency neurotomy, or rhizotomy, is a minimally-invasive, non-surgical procedure performed by Pain Medicine Specialists at The NeuroMedical Center that uses heat generated by radio waves to heat the tissue surrounding the irritated nerves. Several nerves may be treated if necessary.  The heat is delivered via tiny electrodes inserted near the nerve. Our physicians use numbing medication in addition to conscious sedation to deaden the area prior to ablation. The procedure can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the patient.  Once the procedure is complete, a small bandage is placed on top of the injection site.

RFA is always performed in an outpatient setting—meaning our patients are able to have their procedure, and go home in the same day. You can be back to your normal daily activities with 24-48 hours.

How long does an RFA last ?

The steady heat creates an unfavorable environment for the nerves, so they die within 1-2 weeks. Like many other human tissues, nerves eventually regenerate after approximately 9 months to a year. Luckily, this procedure is so safe that it can simply be repeated if and when the pain returns.

Am I a candidate for RFA?

RFA is used to treat ideal candidates experiencing facet joint problems linked to:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Pain caused by the breakdown of joints
  • Inflammation of the joints
  • Pain from prior spinal surgeries
  • Spinal Injury


Choose The NeuroMedical Center for Non-Surgical Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Living with facet joint pain can be a daily struggle and finding relief can be challenging.  If a facet joint problem is the suspected cause of your lower back pain, our Pain Medicine Specialists are here for you.

Pain Management Specialists

One of the first steps in getting to the bottom of facet joint pain or facet joint syndrome is a thorough medical evaluation performed by the back pain experts at The NeuroMedical Center.  These specialists have access to the most advanced technology to diagnose and treat facet joint conditions. Take the first steps toward regaining a pain-free life by requesting an appointment with one of our back pain specialists today: (225) 768-2050.