Radiofrequency Denervation

What is Radiofrequency?

The goal of radiofrequency lesion generation is to provide pain relief by applying a controlled amount of energy to a specific nerve that has been determined to be the cause of your pain. It is a low risk method of treating mechanical pain syndromes caused by degeneration of spinal facets in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine.

Make arrangements to have a responsible adult accompany you to your appointment, drive you home, and remain with you for 24 hours. This is for your safety and the safety of others.
The procedure will be canceled if you do not have a driver.

Before the Procedure:

  • If you are on blood thinners please inform Dr. Lutz and his staff. Patients on Warfarin/Coumadin require a protime/INR blood test the day before the procedure. Bring these results with you to your appointment.
  • Please do not eat or drink anything for six (6) hours before the procedure.
  • You may take your regular medications with a sip of water.
  • Make arrangements to have a responsible adult accompany you to your appointment, drive you home, and remain with you for 24 hours. This is for your safety and the safety of others.

What to Expect:

The procedure will be done on an outpatient basis at either Minnesota Valley Surgery Center or HighPointe Surgery Center. You will be asked to arrive one (1) hour before your appointment time and will be at there for about 2 hours. An IV line will be started, usually in your hand. Both a local anesthetic and a mild sedative will be administered to reduce any discomfort during the procedure.
The procedure will be done using fluoroscopy (a real-time X-ray process) to accurately place a radiofrequency needle at the specific location related to your pain.

After proper placement has been established, the probe is connected to a source of generated low voltage. This controlled, low frequency flow heats the nerve causing selective denervation. By selectively treating the nerves that send pain messages, you should experience pain relief. You should alert your doctor if at any time during the procedure you experience any discomfort.

After the Procedure:

  • No driving for 24 hours after the procedure.
  • Resume your normal diet.
  • Resume your normal medications.
  • You may shower after 24 hours. No tubs or pools for 48 hours.
  • Limit your activity on the day of the procedure. You should be able to resume your normal activities, including work, as soon as you feel able.
    However, any pre-existing physical restrictions you had prior to the procedure may still remain.
  • For pain at the injection site, ice or Salonpas patches applied to the needle placement site may help.
  • It is likely that you will also experience some back or neck pain or sunburn-like feeling and/or numbness while healing after the procedure. This may take several days, up to 10, to resolve. You may use acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxyn as needed to help relieve discomfort unless otherwise contraindicated.
  • Please understand that it may take 6 – 8 weeks before you feel any relief from this procedure.

It is our goal for the Radiofrequency procedure to provide pain relief for up to 12-18 months. However, every person’s response is different and the human body may regenerate pain pathways over time, so it is not unusual for the procedure to need to be repeated at a future date.

If you are still experiencing pain in six to eight weeks, please call to make a follow-up appointment to see Dr. Lutz.

Questions? If you have questions regarding the information you have read here, ask our staff for further information. Additional links are provided on our website for more detailed information. www.LonLutzMD.com