Radiofrequency Ablation for Chronic Spinal Pain

April 7, 2010 | Evidence Reports


This report examines the use of radiofrequency ablation for chronic spinal pain. Other treatments for chronic spinal pain, such as those that do not ablate tissue or nerves using radiofrequency energy, are outside the scope of this report.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a general term that refers to any of several specific procedures regarding treatment of chronic spinal pain. One is RF denervation, in which the suspected nerves are ablated using radiofrequency energy.

Local ablation of the spine is a surgical procedure and as such is not subject to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) processes. However, the devices used do require FDA clearance for marketing. Currently, a number of RFA devices have received clearance for marketing in the U.S. by the FDA under the premarket notification 510(k) process.

RFA has been used to treat numerous conditions, including pain of zygapophysial joint origin, sacroiliac joint origin, discogenic pain, and herniated discs. Also RFA can be applied to pain originating in any region of the spine. Generally, the indications and contraindications are...

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