I have been dealing with pain from nerve damage for over a year. It is the inguinal nerve on my right side. I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy 4 years ago, a right oophorectomy 2 years ago due to extensive adhesions and a complex cyst. I had a third surgery last year to remove a pelvic tumor on my right side - the tumor was groing around the nerves and in the process of extracting the tumor the nerve was damaged. I had a fourth surgery nine months ago in an attempt to relieve the pain - the last surgery was unsuccessful.
I have tried several medications - Amitriptyline, Neurontin, Lyrica, Lodine - none of them have helped. I have used Vicodin, Darvocet, and Percocet for pain - they give minimal relief.
I have had five nerve blocks this year - three in the inguinal nerve area and two spinal epidurals. With the spinal blocks I get about three weeks of pain relief - with the inguinal blocks I get about five to six weeks of relief. The blocks work but the pain relief is short-lived. The side effects from the steroids are not pleasant - excessive weight gain, increased blood pressure, insomnia, and increased heart rate.
I've been to my primary care doctor, my gynecologist, several neorologists, a couple surgeons; I have consulted with a few pain management specialists and discovered one in my area that specializes with the nerve ablation. I did plenty of research on him prior to making an appointment to see him. When I saw him he presented four possible options for my problem.
1. radio frequency ablation of the nerve(s) - an electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up the tissue inside the nerve, decreasing pain signals in a specific area. Occasionally a second treatment is needed.
2. cryoablation - this uses extreme cold temperature to destroy the nerve tissue. The risk with this ablation is that the actual nerve can become damaged, not just the nerve tissue.
3. surgery to remove a section of nerve
4. a stimulation implant - this also requires surgery - the implant is put under the skin and wires put in the nerve to stop the pain signals. The implant has a battery that would need to be replaced at some point and care has to be taken not to break the wires.
I was told that the cryoablation and the surgery to remove the actual nerve posed the most risk of failure - the nerve is more likely to regenerate with those two procedures. I was told that often with these two procedures the pain can become worse than it originally was.
I believe I need to avoid any further pelvic surgery - the risk of more damage and additional adhesions would not be good. My quality of live is decreasing quickly.
A couple days ago I went ahead and had the radio frequency ablation because I felt it posed the least amount of risk of actual damage to the nerve. Also, I was told I could only get so many nerve blocks a year due to the steroids. I do have some swelling and bruising where the needles were inserted. I have had some reduction in pain already - I should know within a few weeks how successful the procedure was.
Eric, Thank you for your reply and input; I'll keep you posted on how the ablation works out in case you may still be considering it.