What is a Facet Radiofrequency Ablation?
A Facet Radiofrequency Ablation is the destruction of a facet nerve in the lower lumber region or the cervical (neck) region using radio frequency waves (heat waves).
Why is a Facet Radiofrequency Ablation performed?
A Facet Radiofrequency Ablation is performed if you have pain due to disease in the facet joints of your spine. This is performed after you have had appropriate pain relief from your facet diagnostic blocks and typically, a Facet Radiofrequency Ablation is recommended after simpler treatment, such as bed rest, a back brace or pain medications have been ineffective, or once medications have begun to cause other problems.
Is there any preparation for the procedure?
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight on the day before your appointment. Please be sure to be off of any blood thinners before this procedure. Please alert us if you have an iodine or seafood allergy. You will need a driver to drop you off and pick you up for this procedure.
What happens during the procedure?
You will lie face down on the x-ray table. The nurse will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level on a monitor. The area will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution and it will be numbed. Using x-ray guidance, the needle probe will be inserted into the area of the facet joint. Radio frequency (heat) waves are transmitted to lesion the involved nerve.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure takes approximately half an hour, depending on the number of nerves being done.
What are the contraindications for the procedure?
You may experience bleeding problems or an infection at the site of incision.
Is there special care afterward?
You will be observed for short time after the procedure. You will be given directions on when to call Dr. Yang after the procedure; generally about two weeks after a procedure you will be seen for a follow up appointment to decide further pain treatment.
Remember: You are NOT permitted to drive after your procedure. You absolutely MUST have someone drive you home or the procedure will not be done.