Radiofrequency is an analgesic procedure that aims to produce heat in the affected tissue to reduce or eliminate pain. This technique is used in the Pain Unit for several years, but has been refined over the past decade, especially in its effectiveness and safety.
There are two types of RF:
- Conventional radio frequency (RF) is also called thermal radiofrequency, it eliminates pain causing heat injury by a stream of low energy with high frequencies, raises the temperature to 80 ° C to interrupt the transmission of pain.
- Pulsed radiofrequency (RFP): interrupts the current to control the temperature and suppress heat in the tissue. The maximum temperature reached 40-42 ° C in a time of 120 seconds. Its advantage is nondestructive, so you may be indicated in cases where conventional radio frequency can not be used.
What is radiofrequency pain
The radio frequency is indicated for the following types of pain:
- In the spine: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, osteoarthritic disease, spinal injuries.
- facet pain (vertebral joints)
- Pain from osteoarthritis of the hip, knee and shoulder
- discogenic pain: herniated discs, sciatica
- Pain after spinal surgery
- Pain in sacroiliac joint (between the sacrum and coccyx ilium)
- Complex regional pain syndromes with pain maintained by the sympathetic nervous system
- trigeminal neuralgia
- Migraine certain cases
- Pain in territories of peripheral nerves: intercostal, supraescapular, pudendal nerve, abdominal pain, etc.
- Pain in certain tender points (trigger points)
What is radiofrequency
The procedure involves passing a high frequency current through a cannula in which only increases the temperature at the tip portion, between 2 and 4 mm. Thus, the heat transmitting cannula point applies to treat, usually a sensory nerve causing pain box, so that the transmission of this pain is interrupted. The treatment is performed under local anesthesia and sedation, so it is comfortable and is not painful.
Side effects of radiofrequency
If the technique is carried out in the hands of an expert and following safety tips, you have very few side effects. The intervention must be performed in an operating room to maintain aseptic conditions (absence of germs that can cause infection), and safety to see exactly the area where the cannula is inserted, ie, under radiologic or ultrasound control. Being a physical technique, there is discomfort infiltration (by local anesthesia and sedation, which are minimal. In the case of not controlling the insertion of the cannula, another complication could be an unwanted in another structure or a glass and causing a hematoma puncture.
To reduce the likelihood of complications, safety technique is to check the motor and sensory stimulation once you have the cannula in the right location and radiologically controlled. With some questions the patient before proceeding with radiofrequency stimulation in which the patient feels a tingling sensation (paresthesia) in the area where he usually feels pain practiced, which means that the cannula is in proper position.
Results of radiofrequency
The procedure aborts nerve conduction, which in turn can reduce pain and other symptoms associated. Around 70-80% of patients achieved a good blocking nerve structure target. This should alleviate some of the pain controlled by the involved nerve. Sometimes, after treatment of a nerve, it becomes clear that there are also other areas from pain. If the intervention has been successful, the result can last between 3 and 18 months, usually between 6 and 9.