What happens during the procedure?
If a pulsed radiofrequency treatment is determined to be appropriate for you, an appointment will be made for you and your doctor at an outpatient injection facility. You may be given the option to receive some light sedation intravenously to help you relax. If sedation is used, you will be monitored closely with a heart rhythm monitor, blood pressure cuff, and blood oxygen sensing device. Local anesthetic will be used prior to the actual injection. The electrode is placed through the skin in the same way a typical needle would be used. Your doctor uses fluoroscopy (x-ray) to position the electrode closely to the affected nerve or nerves as they exit the spine. Once the needle is positioned, a very mild amount of pulsed radiofrequency is applied to make sure the electrode is in the proper position. This may or may not cause a sensation of tingling, buzzing, or vibrating in the distribution of your typical pain. With the electrode in the proper position, the pulsed radiofrequency procedure is performed. After completion of the stimulation, a small amount of corticosteroid maybe injected along with local anesthetic to decrease any temporary irritation to the nerve. Then, the electrode is removed and a small bandage is placed over the injection site.
How long as the procedure take?
You will typically be at the procedure center for about 2 hours, which includes time to check-in, preparation for the procedure and some time spent immediately after the procedure before you are released home. The procedure itself takes approximately 30 minutes. You will need someone to drive you home.