Alamitos - Seal Beach Podiatry Group
Radiofrequency Nerve Ablation - RFNA
Radiofrequency nerve ablation (RFNA) is a minimally invasive procedure which has been used over the past 30 years primarily by interventional pain management doctors. Originally developed for treatment of chronic back pain, RFNA technology has been refined for use in the arms, legs, hands and feet for treatment of chronic conditions which are not responding to traditional therapies.
The doctors at Alamitos-Seal Beach Podiatry Group are among the very few podiatrists in the country who are trained and experienced in using RFNA to treat chronic pain conditions in the feet.
INDICATIONS FOR RFNA THERAPY IN THE LOWER EXTREMITY
- Chronic Plantar Fasciitis
- Baxter’s Neuritis
THE BENEFITS OF RFNA INCLUDE
- No down time
- Quick 15-20 minute in-office procedure
- Minimally invasive (no incision)
- Tested and proven excellent clinical outcomes
HOW DOES RFNA WORK?
- Radiofrequency nerve ablation is a technique to eliminate pain which is transmitted by a single nerve
- The nerve is shut down by the application of low heat and radiofrequency energy. The nerve is not “killed” permanently—it is incapacitated for approximately two years.
WHY DOES RFNA WORK FOR HEEL PAIN?
Plantar fasciitis involves tearing and inflammation of a ligament (the plantar fascia) which is attached to the heel bone. The plantar fascia sends pain back to the spinal cord and brain via one nerve, the inferior calcaneal nerve. RFNA stops function of this nerve to eliminate heel pain.
WHAT ELSE CAN HAPPEN IF YOU KILL THIS NERVE?
- The Neurotherm® device, used for the RFNA procedure precisely isolates only the pain fibers of the inferior calcaneal nerve. There is no damage or loss of function to the motor, or muscle function nerve fibers.
- There is no risk of numbness to the skin. The only change patients see after this procedure is, hopefully, loss of heel pain.
IF YOU STOP MY PAIN, WHAT HAPPENS TO MY PLANTAR FASCIITIS?
Plantar fasciitis is well recognized as a self-limiting condition, meaning that it always goes away on its own over a period of time. RFNA is a procedure to help a patient return to full activity without pain while the underlying condition eventually heals.
WITHOUT PAIN, WILL I ACCIDENTALLY DO FURTHER HARM TO MY PLANTAR FASCIA?
RFNA does not totally eliminate all sensation from the plantar fascia. It basically eliminates pain, but does not eliminate sensation. Four studies of RFNA treatment of heel pain which have been published in respected medical journals have shown no risk of any side effects from the procedure.
THE RFNA PROCEDURE LOOKS AND SOUNDS PAINFUL!
Actually RFNA is an almost painless procedure. A single injection of local anesthetic is all you will feel at the start of the procedure. We use a cold spray to freeze the skin surface so you will hardly feel the injection.
WHAT ABOUT RFNA FOR MY NEUROMA?
We have almost as good outcome treating Morton’s neuroma with RFNA as we do treating heel pain.
For heel pain, our success is around 80% while neuroma RFNA treatment has about 70% success. Even if the treatment fails, there is no risk of getting worse or having side effects when treating either of these conditons
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY RFNA PROCEDURE?
Happily, our patients do not report any significant pain after their RFNA procedure. There are no restrictions or down time after the procedure. Patients can go right back to work immediately afterward or carry on their usual daily activities. We do caution against starting new activities or exercise routines until one month after the procedure.
WHEN WILL I BEGIN TO GET PAIN RELIEF AFTER THE RFNA PROCEDURE?
You will not achieve full pain relief until 4 weeks after the RFNA procedure. Some patients experience immediate improvement, while most require 4 weeks or more before maximal benefit has been achieved.
HOW MUCH DOES THE RFNA PROCEDURE COST?
The cost of the RFNA procedure is $495. Despite excellent studies of benefit, most insurance carriers will not cover this procedure. If your employer provides a flexible spending account for medical costs, that can be applied to RFNA treatment. Our office staff can assist you with any questions regarding payment and insurance coverage.