* Procedures performed under imaging guidance
Are you living with ongoing pain that hasn’t improved with medication or physiotherapy?
Ask your GP if you might be suitable for a referral to X-Ray & Imaging Pain Clinic for opinion and management with Radiofrequency Neurotomy.
Radiofrequency Neurotomy, also known as RFN, is a specialised, minimally invasive procedure that is used to provide intermediate to long-term pain relief by using heat generated by radio waves to target the nerves responsible for your pain.
• Back & neck pain
• Shoulder & knee pain
• Occipital nerve headache
• Plantar fasciitis
Once we’ve received your referral, we’ll contact you to schedule a comprehensive evaluation in consultation with either Dr Ferguson, Dr Johnstone or Dr Lawson.
Following consultation, we will systematically identify the direct source of your pain and assess your suitability for RFN by performing a diagnostic block.
A diagnostic block is used to identify the source of pain by temporarily interrupting pain signals transmitted to the brain. This test involves injecting anaesthetic directly to nerves we believe are responsible for your pain. If the injection of anaesthetic to the targeted nerves significantly relieves your pain in the first instance, the procedure will be performed a second time for complete confirmation.
Two successful diagnostic blocks will qualify you as a candidate for RFN.
In instances where the diagnostic block is unsuccessful, this determines that the pain is likely originating from another source, and further investigations will be carried out until the direct source has been confirmed.
Radiofrequency treatment involves the placement of needles, under imaging guidance, directly onto the nerves that are causing pain as determined by previous diagnostic blocks. Heat is produced at the tip of the needle and is used to treat the nerves. This interrupts the nerves sending signals to the brain, which can provide long-lasting pain reduction.
The skin will be anaesthetised with local anaesthetic and then deeper local anaesthetic is used to infiltrate around the target area of the electrode pathway. The electrolyte is a fine needle through which a fine probe is passed and then connected to the RF generator to produce heat and radiofrequency energy at the distal 5mm of the electrode tip.
Most spinal RFN procedures take about 45 minutes.
Our nurses will conduct a phone interview with you at three weeks, three months and six months following RFN to monitor your progress.
Does RFN hurt?
While you may feel some pressure, long-acting anaesthetic enables a pain-free procedure.
What is the recovery period?
The recovery period is minimal. You’ll walk out of the clinic following treatment. We do ask that you rest in the clinic for 15 minutes following treatment for observation.
We advise that you not drive for at least eight hours after the procedure due to the lasting effects of local anaesthetic near spinal nerves. Most patients return to work the following day, but maximum pain relief may not occur for up to three or four weeks.
How long will the pain relief last?
Average response time is around nine months, but some patients have up to two years of significant pain reduction or complete pain relief. The nerves that have been treated will eventually grow back and when this happens the pain will probably return, at which time the procedure can be repeated without the need for more test procedures.
How can I be seen as a patient at Pain Clinic?
1. Ask your GP if you might be suitable for a referral for consultation, investigation and treatment with our Specialist Interventional Radiologists.
2. Email your referral to us at [email protected]
3. Our staff will contact you in a timely manner to arrange an appointment.
Are there any risks associated with RFN?
Risks, such as infection, are very rare, and every precaution is taken to avert this possibility.
Bleeding may occur at the entry site, or into deeper tissues but is rarely of any consequence. If you are taking any anticoagulants, including aspirin or warfarin and those used to treat atrial fibrillation, this will increase the risk of bleeding.