Radiofrequency lesioning is a minimally invasive procedure to treat pain, using a specialized machine called a “radiofrequency lesion generator.” Lesioning destroys the sensory nerve endings of painful joints in the spine.
How does it work?
This procedure denatures the tiny nerve branches that supply the painful facet joints enough so that they do not work, in effect cutting the nerve supply to the painful area. It is performed under flouroscopic guidance to direct the needle to the target nerve endings. Numbing medication is injected followed by placement of a radiofrequency needle.
A small electrical current from the radiofrequency lesion generator (a computer) is passed through the needle to produce radio waves and heat the target nerve endings. The doctor controls the amount of heat very precisely, using the radiofrequency lesion generator machine. The nerves are treated for about 1 minute. The needles are then withdrawn and the procedure is over.
Who benefits from this procedure?
Radiofrequency lesioning is beneficial to patients with neck or back pain due to degenerative facet joint disc disease.