What is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?
Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical procedure that kills nerve fibers, transmitting messages of pain to the brain. It may provide long-term relief for people with chronic pain, particularly in the lower back, neck, and joints. If you have chronic pain and received successful relief with a nerve block injection, you might be a candidate for radiofrequency ablation.
What is radiofrequency ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation, commonly known as rhizotomy, is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that utilises heat to reduce or prevent the transmitting of pain. Radiofrequency waves breakdown, or “burn,” the nerve that causes pain preventing the transmission of pain signals to the brain.
This technique is most widely used to treat chronic pain and disorders such as spinal arthritis (spondylosis) and sacroiliitis. It is also used to relieve pain in the spine, back, knee, pelvic and peripheral nerves. The benefits of radiofrequency ablation include preventing surgery, quick pain relief, little or no recovery time, reduced need for pain medicine, enhanced function, and a faster return or work and other activities.
Who is the ideal candidate?
Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment alternative for patients who have experienced successful pain relief following a diagnosis of nerve / pain receptor block injection. Radiofrequency ablation is conducted using fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidelines and should NOT be done on people that have an illness, are pregnant, or have bleeding issues.
Step 1: Prepare the Patient
The patient is on the x-ray table. A local anesthetic is used to numb the region of treatment. During the entire process, the patient feels slight pain. During the operation, the patient remains awake and conscious to provide input to the physician. Low-dose sedatives, such as Valium or Versed, are typically the only medicines used in this process.
Step 2: Insert the needle
The procedure used for nerve ablation is similar to that used for diagnostic blocks. With the aid of a fluoroscope (a special x-ray), the doctor guides a thin hollow needle to the area responsible for the pain. Fluoroscopy helps the doctor to track the needle on the fluoroscope track in real-time to make sure that the needle travels to the correct spot. Contrast can be injected to validate the correct position of the needle. There is some discomfort, but patients normally experience more pressure than pain.
Step 3: deliver the heating current
If the needle is in place, the patient will receive a numbing drug. Then a radiofrequency current is passed through a hollow needle to cause a small and precise burn, called a lesion, around the size of a cotton swab tip (Fig 1). The current kills the portion of the nerve that transmits pain and disrupts the signal that causes pain. Burning takes approximately 90 seconds for each location, and several nerves may be burned at the same time.
Step 4: Recovery
The relief of pain can last from 9 months to more than 2 years. The nerve may likely regenerate from the burnt lesion induced by radiofrequency ablation. If the nerve recovers, it is normally 6-12 months after the operation. Radiofrequency ablation is 70-80 percent effective in people with good nerve blocks.
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Varicose veins are constipated with tortuous veins on or near the surface of the legs. Most varicose veins in the legs are never handled. The mainstay of treatment for those who remain awaiting surgery, most commonly bonding and stripping. Such treatment is very successful in most cases, and most patients are satisfied with the outcome, but it is far from ideal.
Like the best conventional surgical methods, interventional radiological methods seek to treat complications by tackling the root cause. This includes the reduction of reflux and the removal of inept veins and unsightly surface varicose veins.
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Arteries endogenous respiration blood and nutrients from your heart to the rest of the body. As you age, plaque composed of cholesterol or lipids (fat), calcium, and fibrous scar tissue can develop in the arteries, widening and stiffening — a process called atherosclerosis. The resulting inadequate circulation prevents adequate oxygen from reaching the tissues of the body. The catheter is inserted in the affected artery. A small balloon is briefly inflated at the tip while it’s in place. The balloon pushes the plaque into the walls of the artery to enhance the flow of blood. A stent — a tiny tube — helps to hold the arteries intact.
Liver cirrhosis is a disorder caused by progressive scarring of the liver because of multiple disorders such as chronic hepatitis, biliary disorder, fatty liver disease, and alcohol abuse. Scarring limits the capacity of the liver to function normally. They train our interventional radiologists to perform life-saving procedures for patients with cancer and other conditions affecting the liver.
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The most major reason for female infertility is the blockage of the fallopian tube by which eggs migrate from the ovaries to the uterus. Occasionally, these tubes are plugged or shortened, preventing successful pregnancy, says the Society for Interventional Radiology.
Interventional radiologists use minimally invasive techniques to open blockages in the body, such as angioplasty for blocked arteries in the heart. Imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI are used to detect blockages. If obstructions are found in the fallopian tube(s), an angioplasty-like procedure called Fallopian Tube Recanalization or Specific Salpingography may be used.
Cerebral or intracranial aneurysm is an irregular focal dilation of the artery in the brain arising from a weakening of the inner muscle layers (the intima) of the wall of the blood vessel. The vessel creates a blister-like dilation that can become thin and burst without notice. The subsequent bleeding in the space from around the brain is called subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). This form of hemorrhage can lead to stroke, coma, and/or death.
Surgery includes extracting a piece of bone from the skull, spreading the brain apart to reveal the aneurysm, and inserting a metal clip around the neck of the aneurysm before covering the bone. Coiling is a less invasive procedure for curing cerebral aneurysms and is conducted by an interventional neuroradiologist.
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Ultrasonography or Ultrasound is a diagnostic process that allows high-frequency sound waves to produce images of different soft tissues. They contain blood vessels, tissues, and organs.
It is used in several clinical settings, including obstetrics & gynecology, cardiology, and cancer detection, as it can accurately test different sections of the body such as the liver, breasts, pelvis, kidney, scrotum, thyroid.
A fluoroscopy is medical imagery that displays a continuous X-ray image on a monitor, just like an X-ray film. During the fluoroscopy process, an X-ray beam is transmitted through the body and sent to a video display so that they can view the body part.
Color Doppler is a medical imaging tool used to simulate the flow of blood using color processing to add color to the image so that the doctor or health care worker can see what’s going on inside the body. This method includes the use of an ultrasound system capable of Color Doppler and can be done in a clinic or hospital as an outpatient procedure. This image processing study is not usually painful, and the patient does not involve sedatives.
Chronic, non-healing wounds, some that have not shown signs of progress in a few weeks or do not respond to standard treatments, require additional healing assistance. Difficult wounds of this form are often caused by accident, sickness, or inadequate blood supply. Union County Hospital is providing specialised care for these kinds of injuries.
Lymphedema, also known as lymphatic congestion, is a condition in which lymph no longer returns to the bloodstream through the thoracic duct as normal, but gathers in the interstitial tissue and induces swelling that can lead to reduced activity, mobility, and other complications.
Using traditional imaging techniques, the needle electrode is strategically located inside the region to be treated. The needle is attached to a special radiofrequency generator and an electrical current is transmitted to the tissue. A parasol-like series of electrodes is applied to the tumor and the more than 100 degrees centigrade heat produced by the current kill the tumor without affecting other parts of the liver.
Dr. Nikhil Bansal is Sr. Consultant (Interventional Radiology) at BLK Super Speciality, he served as a Consultant at the Endovascular Hospital in Jaipur. He has successfully treated several patients and is a leading name in the field of interventional radiology.
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