What to Expect During Your Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Procedure.

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What to Expect During Your Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Procedure: What to Know

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a treatment option used to manage chronic pain and other symptoms in various medical conditions. As a procedure, it involves the insertion of an electrode into the tissue that is to be treated.

The device transmits an electrical current which produces heat to destroy part of the tissue, providing pain relief and improving the patient’s health. But before undergoing this procedure, patients need to know what to expect.

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What is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Used For?

Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat chronic pain conditions including back pain and neck pain. It can also be used to treat conditions such as nerve or muscle spasms, some forms of arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and some types of migraine headaches. RFA can also be used to treat certain types of cancer and benign tumors.

What Should You Expect During an RFA Procedure?

Most RFA procedures are done in a doctor’s office or outpatient clinic, under local anesthetic. During the procedure, a small needle-like electrode is inserted through the skin and into the problem area. The electrode delivers an electric current, producing heat which destroys the targeted tissue.

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You may feel a tingling sensation or local discomfort when the current is applied. This usually lasts between 30 seconds to a minute. After the procedure, you may experience some swelling, discomfort and numbness in the treated area, which typically dissipates in a few days.

What are the Benefits of Radiofrequency Ablation?

The primary benefit of RFA is that it can provide relief from chronic pain. That relief can often last for months or even years. In addition, the procedure is usually not very invasive, it’s relatively quick and can be done on an outpatient basis.

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Are There Any Side Effects or Risks?

As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks associated with RFA. These include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, tissue damage and burns. However, these risks are very rare, and they can usually be prevented with proper care and by following your doctor’s instructions.


Radiofrequency ablation is a safe and effective treatment option for managing certain conditions such as chronic pain, spasms and certain types of cancer. The procedure is relatively quick and can often provide long lasting relief. It does come with a small risk of side effects, but with proper care and attention these can be avoided.