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Lumbar Radiofrequency Ablation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What do I need to know about lumbar radiofrequency ablation?

Lumbar radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure used to treat facet joint pain in your lower back. Facet joints are found at the back of each vertebra. A needle electrode is used to send electrical currents to the nerves in your facet joint. The electrical currents create heat that damages the nerve so it cannot send pain signals.

How do I prepare for lumbar RFA?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for this procedure. You may be told to not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. Your provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure.

What will happen during lumbar RFA?

What are the risks of lumbar RFA?

You may have pain, numbness, tingling, or burning in the area where the lumbar RFA was done. These normally go away within 6 weeks. The needle electrode may injure your spinal nerves. This may cause permanent leg weakness or nerve pain.

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.