Your nerves are responsible for sending messages between your body and your brain, but when you have nerve dysfunction, your body could send faulty messages telling your brain you’re in pain. At West Texas Pain Institute, in El Paso, Texas, Raul Lopez, MD, offers radiofrequency ablation treatments to disrupt the pain messages traveling along your nerves. If you suffer from neurological pain, call the office or schedule a consultation online to discover if radiofrequency ablation treatments are right for you.
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to heat and “shut off” malfunctioning nerves. When the malfunctioning nerve is deadened by heat, pain signals are prevented from reaching the brain. It’s an effective treatment for chronic pain in your neck, back, or joints.
A radiofrequency ablation treatment is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure. It has three steps: preparation, placing the needle, and heating your nerve.
Dr. Lopez prepares you for radiofrequency ablation by having you lie down on an X-ray table. He injects a local anesthetic into the treatment area to ensure your comfort. In most cases, you stay awake during the procedure, but if necessary, Dr. Lopez can provide a sedative to help you relax.
Dr. Lopez uses fluoroscopy — a type of X-ray that uses a contrast dye — to guide a hollow needle to the malfunctioning nerve. Then, he guides a thin wire through the needle to your malfunctioning nerve.
Finally, when the needle and wire are in place, Dr. Lopez releases the radiofrequency energy, which heats the nerve and deadens it to prevent it from sending pain messages to your brain. The radiofrequency ablation procedure only takes 90 seconds. The majority of the time you’re in the office is spent in prep.
After your treatment, you should be able to get up and walk around, though you’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home. You may want to take a day or two off after your radiofrequency ablation treatment. Dr. Lopez can provide customized aftercare advice that is tailored to your specific needs.
If you suffer from chronic pain resulting from a nerve problem, radiofrequency ablation may be an ideal treatment option. Dr. Lopez uses nerve block injections to determine if your pain is neurological and to identify the specific nerve causing your pain. You should be in good health aside from your pain. Pregnant women shouldn’t have radiofrequency ablation.
If you want to learn more about radiofrequency ablation for pain relief, call West Texas Pain Institute or make an appointment online today.