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    Old 11-04-2009, 08:21 PM   #1
    Terry in AL
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    Radio Frequency Ablation of Facet Joints

    I am new to this website and have been searching for people with problems similar to mine. I have facet joint problems in L3-L4-L5, which have been relieved by Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA). I had the first ablation in Apr 09 and got about 5 months of almost total relief. I had the right side redone 2 weeks ago and will get the left side next week.

    Has anyone had multiple RFA's? Is there any limit to the number of times it can be done? Any side effect or diminished impact that develops over time? Does your doctor put you to sleep? Mine does. Just looking for someone that has been down this road before. Thanks for any advice you can share.


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    Old 11-08-2009, 03:06 PM   #2
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    Re: Radio Frequency Ablation of Facet Joints

    Hi Terry & welcome. I had had RFA done twice to S4-L5/S1, three times total to L5/S1 actually, and once to L3 & L4. My doctor says that 3 times per area is about the limit. The problem is that the nerves regenerate and in doing so formulate different pathways. This then renders the same procedure less effective each time it is done. That being said, I will say that, based on my experience, some of my original pain in areas treated multiple times has either never returned or has returned with less intensity. Response to this procedure seems to be highly individualized and if you do a search for it on these boards, the ratings of effectiveness of the procedure are all over the place. So the bottom line is that you have to see how well it has worked for you. If it worked once, it will likely work again. Hope this is helpful.

    Old 11-09-2009, 01:21 PM   #3
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    Re: Radio Frequency Ablation of Facet Joints

    Hi! I have had a lot of success with RFA in the L3, L4 and L5 (both sides). It lasts about 8 months for me, and then I've had it redone. I have had it re-done 8 times, over the years. My doctor never said there was a limit to how many times it could be done. He does both sides at once, and the procedure takes about 45 minutes. It has worked really well each time, with a lot of pain relief. My doctor does not put me to sleep, but he gives me Versed and Fentanyl to cut the pain. He wanted me awake to respond if he had questions to ask me-each time before he did the "burning" he would make sure I didn't feel anything down my leg. I hope it continues to work well for you! Kera4

    Old 11-10-2009, 08:38 AM   #4
    Terry in AL
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    Re: Radio Frequency Ablation of Facet Joints

    Thanks for the info Kera & CaliGirl. I am on my way today for the left side RFA. Looking forward to that relief.

    Old 02-27-2010, 10:43 AM   #5
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    Re: Radio Frequency Ablation of Facet Joints

    Hi, I get them every 9 to 12 months. And they have normally worked in the past but recently I had to use a different doctor who nukes the facet nerves for 7 minutes instead of what I was use to of 16 minutes. He said he only has to do it for 7 minutes because of new technology but this guy is so paranoid about a law suit, patient care and comfort are comprimised. I can't go back to my previous doc because of insurance restrictions limiting me to my home state. Do you know where I can find out about the recommended time for this procedure?

    Old 02-28-2010, 09:04 PM   #6
    Myofascial Pain
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    Re: Radio Frequency Ablation of Facet Joints

    I just had my 4th of 4 quadrants done on my back...

    Generally, I try to get them done successively as quickly a my doctor allows, (he usually insists on a week minimum), or else the other 3 quadrants try to compensate for the lack of tension in one quadrant and do more damage.

    I'll probably have my lower 2 quadrants done again but I want to try some myofascial release physical therapy first.

    The won't allow me any PT for 3 weeks following RFAs...

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