Radiofrequency Ablation as an Effective Treatment for Pain?

With the opioid crisis dominating the headlines, attention is increasingly focused on nonnarcotic treatments for chronic pain. Dr. Alaa Abd-Elsayed of the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison has successfully used radiofrequency ablation to treat resistant intercostal neuralgia, headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, and seural neuralgia.

For this procedure, short pulses of radiofrequency waves at a low temperature are directed at a target nerve. The precise mechanism of pulsed radiofrequency ablation–induced pain relief is not known, but the patients in Dr. Abd-Elsayed’s studies reported relief of their conditions.

Each of these reports has been published early online in Ochsner Journal, a quarterly, peer-reviewed medical journal that is fully searchable at PubMed. To subscribe to the Journal and receive notification each quarter when an issue is published, subscribe to the electronic table of contents by completing this brief form.