Has anyone had radiofrequency ablation?

As5567
As5567 Member Posts: 665
edited 11. Jun 2015, 14:31 in Living with Arthritis archive
Has anyone ever had radiofrequency ablation in the lumbar spine region?

My consultant has been talking me over this procedure today and it does sound very good, the only problem is in my local area the waiting time for the procedure to be done is anything up to 9 months, so I'm trying to weigh up the benefits to see if it's worth paying to go private.

My consultant claims that most people treated usually have a good outcome and can be pain free for up to 2 years and most up to a year? This to me sounds like its too good to be true but lots of evidence does seem to back up his claims.

Would be great to hear of anyone who has had this done and how were the result for you. I would usually wait to have it done on the NHS by this time round the pain in my back is really holding me back from getting my mobility back to anywhere near normal and I'm desperate and willing to try anything to get my spinal pain under control.

Comments

  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 8,043
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Ass5567

    I have had a Cervical Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA). It is also called cervical facet thermal coagulation or rhizotomy. Mine was done for upper neck/shoulder pain and worked for quite a time for me. Perhaps this is similar to what you are having somewhere in your spine.

    I wish you all the best,

    Elna x
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • As5567
    As5567 Member Posts: 665
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I had an appointment with my pain doctor today and we spoke a lot about the radiofrequency. I have bit the bullet and booked myself in for next Friday in the evening to have it done........I really really hope this works for me.

    elnafinn wrote:
    Hi Ass5567

    I have had a Cervical Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA). It is also called cervical facet thermal coagulation or rhizotomy. Mine was done for upper neck/shoulder pain and worked for quite a time for me. Perhaps this is similar to what you are having somewhere in your spine.

    I wish you all the best,

    Elna x

    How painful did you find the procedure? What you had is indeed the same thing I'm having done next week, I have had epidurals and facet joint injections so I know to expect some discomfort but I'm slightly nervous that the "burning" of the nerves will be painful. I could opt to have light sedation but they require me to be awake and aware so I see no point in the extra expense if I need to be aware. Also did you have a good outcome? Everyone is telling me the success rate is very high but it sounds too good to be true almost....
  • Starburst
    Starburst Member Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    This sounds positive; I am cautiously optimistic for you. I really hope this helps you too, you really deserve some relief from the pain. Take care, AS.
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,739
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Fantastic Ash!

    I really hope it works for you :) Fingers will be crossed

    Love

    Toni xxx
    Love

    Toni xxx
  • elnafinn
    elnafinn Member Posts: 8,043
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi As5567

    I nearly missed your reply. I am a wuss and never wish to be awake when in theatre, if I have the choice. I was offered to be "out of it" for the procedure and I took up the offer gladly and did not feel anything at all. I remember he said I may talk with you but I never remembered a thing.

    I had it done in 2008. I no longer remember how long it worked for, so much has happened since then. ;):)

    I wish you well on Friday and that your doctor is as dishy as mine was. ;) I hope it works for you.

    Elna
    The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything.

    If you can lay down at night knowing in your heart that you made someone's day just a little bit better, you know you had a good day.
  • As5567
    As5567 Member Posts: 665
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Looks like I missed your reply too, I must try to pay more attention in future!

    I'm glad to hear you had a painless and positive experience with it. I will let you know how it goes later. I decided to watch a youtube video on the procedure and wish I didn't bother now. I'm fine with needles, injections and pain usually. The part that I don't like is not being able to see what's going on and not being able to prepare myself for when pain is expected.

    If it's anything like having a facet joint injection then I know to expect some pain but nothing I can't handle. Hopefully having it done at a private hospital will also help me keep calm by not having the usual stresses of a normal hospital such a parking, busy waiting rooms and possible delayed appointment time.
  • As5567
    As5567 Member Posts: 665
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    For anyone reading this in the future:

    I found the procedure to be mildly uncomfortable but tolerable. By far the most painful part is the local antithetic which felt very much so like injecting some TNF drugs but on a much larger scale (Burning sensation) The actual incision of the needles used to burn the nerves were complete painless, I didn't even know they had gone in until the doctor told me they were ready to begin the process and that he would be asking me lots of questions and working with me to get the best result. The radiofrequency part I did feel some pain and at some points some tingling and prickly feeling down my legs.

    The day after the procedure I felt like my normal pain had improved a great deal but I was feeling very sore in my lumbar area from the procedure, this lasted about 3-4 days.

    Today is 5 days since having the procedure done and I'm happy to say that I'm feeling much better, not totally pain free but a very big improvement. For people with less complex problems I'm told it is possible to gain complete pain control as the nerves causing the pain are turned off.

    Now I just need to pray it lasts as long as they claim, I have been told the typical patient will have 1-2 years pain control from this. If I can reach the 6 month mark then I will be happy and will happily have it done once again.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    What a kind and thoughtful post, As5567, now we know where to point people who may need to know about this. I'm pleased it's helped matters for you, long may that last! DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Starburst
    Starburst Member Posts: 2,546
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Very kind of you to come back and update. I'm sure your experience will help others in the future.

    I am very pleased to hear that the outcome has been positive so far. I'll keep my fingers, toes, arms, legs and anything else crossed that it continues. I know your pain has been a particularly unpleasant beast, so it's fantastic that you've gained some relief from this.

    Do keep us updated on your progress please. :)