Radiofrequency Ablation

What is a RFA/Rhizotomy?
A rhizotomy is a procedure that is used to prevent sensory nerves from sending pain messages to the brain by heating the nerve with a radio wave.

How does it work?
When the spine is injured, diseased, degenerated, or surgically treated, the facet joints may be affected. These joints frequently become arthritic and painful.  The resulting symptoms in the low back are typically back pain which radiates into the legs to just above the knee. Pain and stiffness of the lower back is also noted and leaning forward slightly may make the pain better. In the upper spine the experience is pain and stiffness. This treatment is used to relieve the pain that is produced by inflammation of the facet joint. This procedure can also be used to relieve pain in the sacroiliac joint.

How is it performed?
A RFA/Rhizotomy is performed in the procedure room using fluoroscopy (x-ray). Sedation may or may not be used for this procedure. The patient is positioned on the fluoroscopy table and the joints to be treated are identified. The skin is then frozen and a numbing medication (local anesthetic) is injected around the joints to be treated.  A small wire is then inserted into a needle adjacent to the joint nerve. With the wire in proper position a radiofrequency wave is applied which heats the tissue and destroys the joint nerve.

What are the potential risks with a RFA/Rhizotomy?
As with any invasive procedure there is the risk of infection and bleeding at the injection site. Very rarely nerve damage can occur.

What are the expected benefits of this treatment?
Pain relief is usually delayed after a RFA/Rhizotomy. It may take up to 4 weeks to fully evaluate the benefit of the procedure. In some cases the pain may be worse for the first 1-2 weeks following the procedure. Generally, ice applied to this area is helpful. This procedure is most effective when combined with other methods to control pain which include physical therapy, medication management, weight loss, smoking cessation, and other recommended interventions.


Orthopedics & Sports Medicine

Our highly experienced and regarded orthopedic surgeons specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders that affect bones, joints, muscles, cartilage, ligaments and nerves of the extremities and spine. They are proud to be affiliated with both St. Mary Mercy Hospital and St. John Macomb Hospital..

Back, Neck & Spine

You’ll have the advantage of the latest surgical and non-surgical procedures in back and neck pain. A team approach to your spinal problems may include physical therapy, medication, exercise, weight loss and therapeutic spinal injections. Additionally, we offer the area’s best orthopedic spine surgeons for repair or reconstruction of structural disorders.

Pain Management

The pain management / physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians at Mendelson Kornblum have a tremendous amount of experience and knowledge regarding pain-relieving techniques and treatments. Areas of specialty include back pain, neck pain, herniated discs, pinched nerves, post-surgical pain, cancer-related pain, musculoskeletal injuries, and rehabilitation for back and neck injuries. If you have acute or chronic pain that affects your mobility and ability to function, Mendelson Kornblum Orthopedics can help restore your quality of life.

Physical Therapy

Our rehabilitation approach complements your surgeon’s intervention with continual sharing of diagnostic information that can help promote a speedy recovery. In addition, due to our exclusive dedication to orthopedic conditions, we have developed many techniques that can significantly reduce the amount of pain during your rehabilitation.