Radiofrequency Denervation or Pulsed Radiofrequency

(Facet Radiofrequency Neurotomy, Pulse Radiofrequency)

Sumary

These treatments are used for the treatment of back and/or neck pain when a diagnosis of facet pain has been made by specific test pain block called “medial branch block”.  About 15% of patients with back pain have pain coming mainly or solely from the facet joints and this can be effectively treated by using heat to disrupt the nerve (the medial branch) which supplies the joint with feeling.

In certain settings radiofrequency energy is used in an on-off (pulsed) mode which stuns nerves rather than heat treats them and this can be helpful in a variety of settings for example in trying to treat nerve root pain where heating would be counterproductive.

  • Arranging your Treatment

    Before going ahead with this treatment, you will need to have an initial consultation with a specialist Consultant to go through your medical history and diagnosis. At this appointment, your consultant will confirm the exact treatment you require. If you would like to have an initial consultation, you can call us and we can help you find the consultant best for you. Alternatively, if you have already been diagnosed as needing a particular operation or treatment, our sales advisors can give you a guide price for this to be carried out at KIMS Hospital and book an appointment for you to meet a consultant. Call our sales advisors on 01622 237 727 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk.

  • Paying for your Treatment

    You can be treated at KIMS by using your private medical insurance or by paying for yourself. If you have private medical insurance, you will need to contact your insurer to ensure you are covered for the initial consultation prior to making an appointment and obtain an authorisation number. The insurance company will then need to be advised if you require further treatment. The insurance company usually settles bills on your behalf. If you are paying for your own treatment, you will need to pay for an initial consultation. This will be confirmed at the time of booking but is typically £150-£250. You will also need to pay for any associated diagnostic tests your consultant recommends (for example x-rays and blood tests). Following this consultation, if you don’t need any further treatment or if you decide paying for yourself isn’t the right option, there is no commitment to proceed further. If you require the operation or procedure to be carried out, you will receive a quote for your treatment. In most case this will be the fixed price package quoted on this website. If this quote is different for any reason, we will provide an explanation (see what’s included below). This quote is also subject to pre-assessment checks prior to your admission to hospital. Payment is required 7 days prior to admission.

These treatments are all day case procedures which means you are admitted and allowed home on the same day.  They take place in the operating theatre with continuous sedation and live x-ray.  You will be assisted onto the operating table and made comfortable with pillows, identity and other checks made then sedation given via a needle in a vein.  Sedation means you are conscious and can respond if there are any problems but you will be sleepy and not anxious or in pain.  Many patients don’t remember the procedure.

The treatment is achieved by placing an electrode needle against the surface of the facet joint where the nerve entering it sits and heating once or twice for one minute.  Local anaesthetic is used to control procedure pain but some pain in the few days after is to be expected from the nature of the treatment.  About a third of patients may have quite prolonged (2-4 weeks, occasionally more) pain after but it always settles down.

Adverse events

Apart from post-procedure pain these are uncommon but might include:

  • skin numbness – a small patch of slightly numb skin can occur
  • rarely this can be numb and painful (anaesthesia dolorosa)
  • nerve injury could occur but is rare with modern techniques and equipment.

To find out more:

If you would like to come to KIMS, please contact our sales advisors on 01622 237 727 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk.

Our Consultants

  • Dr Anthony Hammond

    BSc MBChB MD FRCP

    • Dorsal Root Ganglion Block
    • Epidural Injection (lumbar/caudal)
    • Facet Joint Injection
    • Percutaneous Disc Decompression and Endoscopic Discectomy
    • Radiofrequency Denervation or Pulsed Radiofrequency