Pulsed Radiofrequency (PRF)
What is a pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) and how does it help with my pain?
Pulsed radiofrequency is a modified version of traditional radiofrequency procedures.
Unlike radiofrequency ablation which aims to ‘destroy’ the pain fibres, PRF attempts to ‘reset’ the nerve using radiofrequency current (it is like rebooting the computer), in order to reduce the nerve sensitivity that might be responsible for your pain.
How is the pulsed radiofrequency procedure performed?
The procedure involves:
- Giving a mild sedative
- Applying short bursts of electric current (heat) to ‘stunt’ or ‘reset’ the nerve with X-ray guidance
- Delivery of the radiofrequency energy (in pulses) for up to 10 minutes to each affected nerve
- An injection of local anaesthetic and steroid to be given after the treatment to reduce the nerve irritation
What is the success rate?
PRF treatment can be life-changing in terms of pain management. The outcome varies according to the patient and the condition being treated. We can repeat the treatment as required.
Some patients may wish to try a trial of a spinal cord stimulator if PRF is effective but does not last long enough.
Am I a good candidate for pulsed radiofrequency treatment?
This treatment may be helpful for you if you have the following conditions:
- A pinched nerve from bony spurs or herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis, where there is a narrowing of the spinal canal
- Post-amputation pain
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
- Pain in the face like Trigeminal neuralgia, Glossopharyngeal neuralgia
- Headache conditions such as Cluster headache and Occipital neuralgia
- Postherpetic neuralgia, which is pain after shingles
- Post-surgical neuropathic pain
- Pudendal neuralgia
- Other neuropathies
What are the risks?
PRF treatment is a very safe and minimally invasive procedure done as day surgery. Risks of infection, nerve damage and bleeding are extremely low.
There may be a temporary increase in pain for up to 2 weeks, numbness, weakness and unpleasant sensation which all eventually will go away after a few days.
What should I expect after the procedure?
You are not advisable to drive or engage in strenuous activities for a day. You may resume your normal activities on the next day and slowly increase your activity level from the 3rd day onwards.
Every condition is different, hence it is best to consult a specialist who is experienced in managing such conditions. Reach out to Dr Timothy Thor today.