Patients who suffer from chronic low back and neck pain and who
have not responded to common pain management interventions such
as medications and physical therapy may be candidates for radiofrequency
Radiofrequency lesioning (RFL) is a procedure that uses electrical
impulses to interrupt nerve conduction. RFL is most commonly used
on the facet joint nerves, sacroiliac joint nerves and peripheral
nerves. An advantage of RFL is that it allows for the interruption
of pain signals for an extended period of time. Generally, a patient
can expect pain relief for 6 to 9 months.
Radiofrequency lesioning is done under fluoroscopic guidance to
assist in precise needle placement. By using a special radiofrequency
needle and microelectrode, the tissue at the site of pain is stimulated
by a small radiofrequency current. This current generates heat and
blocks the pain pathways. Local anesthetic is used to numb the area
before the procedure begins. RFL is an outpatient procedure that
takes between 30 and 60 minutes. The patient can return home after
Approximately 80-90% of patients get significant relief from chronic
back and neck pain with radiofrequency lesioning. Although the pain
relief lasts longer than many other procedures, it is not permanent.
Sensory nerves regenerate over time, causing pain symptoms to reappear.
There are some risks associated with radiofrequency lesioning including
pain and numbness at the site, bleeding and allergic reactions.
A more severe, but rare complication is nerve damage, which can
lead to a persistent burning sensation and a feeling of numbness
This information is for educational
purposes only and is not intended to replace the care or advice
given by your physician. Always seek the advice of your physician
or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment
or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.