Radio frequency energy is transmitted to the tip of a needle where it is converted to heat and targeted at specific nerve tissue. Once the nerves undergo this heat treatment, they slowly stop transmitting pain. Radiofrequency refers to radio waves, a form of electromagnetic energy produced during the procedure. Electromagnetic energy naturally exists all around us and is safer than that from x rays because it is absorbed by your body as heat, leaving cell structure intact.

The heat is applied by means of a small needle the doctor guides through the patient’s skin after local anesthesia, directly into the nerve area to be ablated. The needle is designed so that the physician can heat a precise area at a specific temperature. RFA has a selective effect on nerve fibers, reducing or eliminating pain in the target area, but leaving other sensory capabilities intact. Only the nerve that is causing pain will be affected by the procedure.

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