Radiofrequency Ablation for the Management of Pain of Spinal Origin in Orthopedics



1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, La Paz University Hospital, Madrid, Spain

2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hospital Universitario de Jaén, Jaén, Spain/Department of Surgery, University of Jaén, Jaén, Spain

3 Pain Unit, Department of Anesthetics, La Paz University Hospital, Madrid, Spain.


Radiofrequency (RF) is a minimally invasive procedure for interrupting or modifying nociceptive pathways to manage musculoskeletal neuropathic and nociplastic pain. RF has been used to manage cervical and lumbar facet joint syndromes. The benefits of RF are the following: it is safer than surgery; it doesn´t need general anesthesia, by that means diminishing the complications; it causes pain alleviation for a minimum of 3-4 months; it can be repeated if needed; it improves joint function; and it minimises the necessity for oral pain treatment. RF must not be used in pregnant women; unstable joints, uncontrolled diabetes mellitus; and presence of an implanted defibrillator. Even though complications from RF are rare, possible adverse events are infection, hemorrhage, numbness or dysesthesia, greater pain in the procedure area, and deafferentation impact. Even though there is a peril of injuring non-targeted neural tissue and other tissues, this can be lessened by carrying out the procedure with the help of fluoroscopy, ultrasonography or computed tomography. RF seems to be a helpful procedure for relieving chronic pain syndromes; despite this, definite proof of the procedure’s effectiveness is still needed. RF is an encouraging procedure for treating chronic spinal pain, especially when other procedures are pointless or not feasible.
Level of evidence: III


Main Subjects

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