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    Old 03-14-2008, 02:16 PM   #1
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    brianpain33 HB Userbrianpain33 HB User
    Radiofrequency ablation questions

    My doctor mentioned this as a possibility to help my pain. Of course my initial thought was and then I slowly took a breath and told him I would think about it. So what exactly is this procedure, do they do it when you are put to sleep. If they do it while you are awake, just how bad does that hurt. This would be in the nerves of my feet and he did tell me that I would lose partial sensation which I don't care as long as it took away some or all of the pain.


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    Old 03-14-2008, 06:09 PM   #2
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    hessie28 HB Userhessie28 HB User
    Re: Radiofrequency ablation questions

    Brian, I just went for a consultation for this last week. The dr. wants to do for me on March 31st. He said it will not help my leg/foot pain at all. He said it will only help the pain across the back. He said that they would have to do more shots after for the leg pain. From what he said, they knock you out. They put the needles in. They wake you up a little. You tell them where it hurts. Then they burn the end of the nerve where you feel the pain. You will be sore after most likely. It can last a little while or long time. That is what he explained. I'm going to do it. I figure it is my last chance. My other dr. told me not to get anymore shots after this because I have had 6 already. He said that more shots could hurt the bone and tissue.

    Old 03-14-2008, 06:17 PM   #3
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    lizzybrog80 HB User
    Re: Radiofrequency ablation questions

    I had IDET 1/25/08, which is VERY similar. It's exactly as the first responder told it. You're pretty much totally knocked out while they get the needle/catheter in and in the right place. Then they wake you up for the "burn." For me it was just making sure I didn't feel pain in a strange place. My pain is on my R side, and honestly, the most pain I had during the burn was on the L side (they went in from the left), because they realized after they woke me up that the catheter was faulty, so they had to take it out and put a new one in while I was awake, so it was pretty painful on the L side while they were doing that, and even when they were done moving stuff around, it was sore. I felt nothing on my R side.

    The recovery was simple for me. Some people have an increase in normal pain for a week or two. I never even had that. It's the long-term just "being careful" part that's tough. So I'm 7 weeks out and started PT this week. My therapist is AWESOME and I have high hopes she's going to be able to help, because she's amazed at how tight and stiff I am all over, so if we can loosen things up, I'm hopeful that things will get better, but honestly, right now I'm in the same place pain-wise as I was before the procedure. But the procedure itself was simple for me. Hope that helps, and feel free to ask any questions if you have them. Good luck!!!
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    Old 03-15-2008, 10:53 AM   #4
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    brianpain33 HB Userbrianpain33 HB User
    Re: Radiofrequency ablation questions

    The thing is that all of the pain is in my feet and the nerves would have to be burned out there and not any in my back. So would they put me out, then stimulate the nerve in my foot somehow to figure out which one to burn out. If it even helped 20% I am signing up. If it helps with the pain and allows me to cut down on the meds I will. Of course I don't want to think about withdrawal, especially from the patch. But I know that I am strong, and with God, and you guys I can achieve anything. Anyone else with comments?


    Old 03-15-2008, 12:14 PM   #5
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    SpinalMalady HB UserSpinalMalady HB User
    Re: Radiofrequency ablation questions


    As a result of my Two Level fusion, I have no feeling in three of my toes on my left foot and two toes on my right. I have grown accustomed to it, though in the beginning it was hard to adjust to.

    It feels (all the time) like, how do I describe this, well to be honest it feels like I've been sitting on my foot for a very long time, and the toes have fallen asleep, and they are in the process of waking up. Not really like pins and needles though.

    Apparently, this is a result of nerve damage when doing the fusion. Doesn't appear that they will come back. I don't know if this is something that you will face, or not, but not having ever had the nerve ablation, I have nothing to compare it to.

    Good luck in whatever it is you decide.
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    Old 03-15-2008, 05:09 PM   #6
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    brianpain33 HB Userbrianpain33 HB User
    Re: Radiofrequency ablation questions

    I just did some research abou this radiofrequency ablation. Can you imagine me doing research What is going on with me, I am actually having a sense of humor and laughing about things? odd. Either I'm really losing it or I am feeling better. I learned a little bit more about the procedure specifically when it comes to pain from "neuromas" in your feet. This is what I was initially treated for with every possible option. This procedure does look promising and seems to be more of a surgical procedure than actual surgery. It reminds me a little bit of the "chryo-surgery" procedures that I had a couple of years ago. Of course, my hopes were astronomical concerning the chryosurgery procedures and I had at least 6 done on each foot at $500 a pop (of course my insurance company footed most of it). As I have said before I was willing to do anything and pay anything in order to not have pain.

    Back to this procedure though, it looks like they would numb my foot and possibly have me a bit sedated. Then they would have my foot under an x-ray machine similar to the one I was under during the epidural steriod injections in my back (not successful either). Then they would turn on the radiofrequency device which would create current at the tip and literally burn the tip of the nerve. This, in theory should stop the pain sensation. It sounds like a fairly new procedure being done for "neuroma" pain in the foot. Of course it has been done for awhile for cardiac problems (irregular heartbeat and too fast heartbeat) and for other tumors in liver, kidneys etc. I think many,many of us could benefit from this procedure especially if any of your pain is nerve related. I will look for anyone else's research or advice too. I'm finally calmed down from "freaking out" earlier. Sorry everyone for lashing back, we're all friends right??


    Old 03-15-2008, 08:01 PM   #7
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    Mac007 HB User
    Re: Radiofrequency ablation questions


    I had this procedure done about 5 weeks ago. Your research and everyone's description is pretty much on target. I too had several epidurals without much success. However, after switching PM doctors, he determined that source of my pain was due to facet joint nerve pain more so than disk nerve pain - although I do have a badly herniated disk at the same level. Before they actually do the main procedure, I had to go in for two sets of injections to determine if the actual burning of the nerves would work. One injection was around the facet joint and the second was actually in the joint. They were procedures that were done about 4 weeks apart. Since I responded to them fairly well, although for only a short time, it was determined that we should go forward with the actual burning of the nerves. I was also told by my PM that he had a 80% success rate of reduced pain or pain relief in patients for 6+ months.

    They do not typically put you "out" during the procedure because they want the patient to communicate - although they do provide IV pain meds and some Versed but it is typically administered in very short intervals - just enough to make you comfortable.

    In my case, they performed the procedure on six different levels and bi-level. They use a fluoroscope to position the needles, the patient typically will feel a twitch or movement in your legs. Once that happens and the patient lets them know, the doctor knows that he is in the correct position and then burns the nerve ending by heating the needle. Again, in my case, it took about 1/2 from start to finish. Not to scare you off but it was painful, especially those nerves that were predetermined to be the source of my pain. I had more leg pain afterwards than before but again I think that was due to muscles and not nerves. I think all of us here have been through numerous procedures - many more than myself - that are painful but necessary.

    I was told, after the procedure, I could have increased pain for a period of 4-6 weeks. Pain could be more muscle related. If that was the case, I could go back to the PM and he would give me some local trigger-point injections to relax the muscle. In addition, he could prescribe a stronger muscle relaxer than the one I was currently on.

    So far, because of the increased pain, I did need to go in for the trigger point injections - 2 of them - which did help a lot for a couple of weeks. I did not need a stronger muscle relaxer nor did I want one.

    The hope is that in a couple of more weeks, if the procedure really did take, I should be able to plan out a gradual decrease in my meds. If that is so, then with any luck, the pain should be decreased or eliminated for a period of 6 months or more. Everyone is different so time-frames for recovery and success levels will vary. If you have a good PM doctor and is skilled at performing this procedure, and your insurance will cover most of it, I think it is worth a try. I too had to pay out $500 for each procedure but if it helps to reduce the pain, I think it is worth it. One side note: I had to battle my insurance company for over 3 months to get this approved. Although the company has been paying for this procedure for close to 15 years, all of a sudden it is now considered "experimental" - go figure!


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