Radiofrequency neurotomy uses radio waves to reduce pain in the neck and back areas. Specifically, heat is generated by radio waves and this heat is used to target certain nerves and temporarily limit their ability to transmit pain signals by creating a heat lesion. After a local anesthetic is applied, needles are inserted through the skin with precise positioning ensured through the use of imaging scans. Once the needles are in place, the radio waves are then delivered through the needles.
Radiofrequency neurotomy works better for some people than for others. It can provide relief for 6 to 12 months, and in some people, up to two years. The treatment is performed on an outpatient basis and takes up to an hour to complete.