A brief history of Radiofrequency for Pain
The very first CRF Lesion generator was created in the 1950’s, however it wasn’t used as a treatment until 1974. In the early years, technical constraints limited CRF therapy to lumber and cervical facet disease, however the introduction to the 22-gauge RF cannula in 1981 meant that clinicians could administer CRF in precise anatomical locations and control the size of the lesions. Since that time, CRF has been used to treat an array of chronic pain conditions ranging from intercosal neuralgia to lumbar radicular pain and cervicogenic headaches.
How does Radiofrequency pain treatment work?
Radiofrequency (RF) is an innovative type of pain management technology which uses an electrical current (produced by a radio wave) to heat up a targeted area of nerve tissue within the body to block pain signals being sent to the brain.
The procedure is achieved through the use of a Radiofrequency Generator. A surgeon will insert the needlepoint ends of the probes into the nerve area and then a radiofrequency current is passed through the hollow needle to create a small and precise burn (called a lesion) about the size of a cotton swab tip.
The current destroys the portion of the nerve that transmits pain and disrupts the pain-producing signal. The burn takes approximately 90 seconds for each site, and multiple nerves can be burned at the same time.
The benefits of Radiofrequency Pain Management
There are two main advantages of radiofrequency treatment. The first is that it does not directly stimulate nerves or heart muscles and therefore can be used without the need for the patient to be put under general anaesthetic. The second benefit is that it is very specific for treating the desired tissue without causing significant collateral damage.
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