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Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about cooled radiofrequency ablation?

Cooled radiofrequency ablation is a procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to destroy tissue or nerves. A cool-tipped probe delivers radiofrequency waves to a targeted area of your body. The radiofrequency waves create heat to destroy the tissue or nerves causing problems. The probe is cooled with water to protect surrounding tissues. Cooled radiofrequency therapy can treat chronic pain, heart arrhythmias, or tumors.

How do I prepare for cooled radiofrequency ablation?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for the procedure. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He or she will tell you the medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. Tell your healthcare provider if you think or know you are pregnant. Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure.

What will happen during cooled radiofrequency ablation?

  • You may be given medicine to help you relax during the procedure. You may be given local anesthesia to numb the procedure area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure, but you should not feel any pain.
  • Your healthcare provider may use x-ray imaging to help him or her see where to put the probe. A needle or catheter will be put into your skin or blood vessel until it reaches the correct area. The probe will be threaded into the needle or catheter. When the probe reaches the correct area, it will deliver radiofrequency waves. The heat from the radiofrequency waves should destroy or scar the targeted tissue or nerves.
  • Your healthcare provider will remove the probe, needle, or catheter. He or she will cover the procedure area with a bandage or dressing.

What should I expect after cooled radiofrequency ablation?

You will be taken to a recovery room after your procedure. You will be monitored by healthcare providers until it is safe for you to go home. If your heart was treated, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight.

What are the risks of cooled radiofrequency ablation?

Risks depend on the area being treated. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks of your procedure. You may experience bruising, bleeding, or soreness at your procedure area. You may get an infection at your procedure site. You may develop a blood clot. You may have nerve damage or pain. You may get burned during the procedure.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.