What is it?

Due to wear and tear (arthrosis), inflammation, surgery or an accident, the spinal column may undergo changes. This can cause 'nerve pain'. Depending on which nerve is irritated, the pain will radiate towards a certain part of the body, such as the back side of the thigh and down towards the ankle.

A nerve block may help you in this case. Using a radiofrequency current, the relevant nerve branch is heated. This heat affects the nerve and blocks the pain signals that travel along the nerve pathways towards the brain. With the (temporary) denervation, the pain can be reduced for a longer period. The nerve is not definitively destroyed.

In order to confirm that a certain nerve contributes to your pain, a test block (e.g. diagnostic block) is first performed. A positive block is used as an indication, but is not an absolute guarantee that radiofrequency denervation will be successful.

A test block and a facet denervation cannot be performed on the same day. Denervation can be performed during the first three months after a positive test treatment.

This treatment changes the pain signals sent to the brain and can reduce the pain for a longer period of time.

Process

Preparation

On the day of the treatment, you will come to the hospital.
The physician will inform you beforehand whether or not you need to be fasting for the procedure.

MedicationStopComments
Asaflow®, Aspegic®
Cardioaspirin®, Aspirin®
Dispirl®, Sedergin®
Stop if >500 mg/day

Marcoumar®, Sintrom®
Marevan®
Seven days before the procedure
Replace with injections (see Clexane, for example)
Anticoagulation before the procedure
Ticlid®
ten days before the procedure

Plavix®, Clopidogrel
Brilique®, Efient®
Seven days before the procedure

Xarelto®, Eliquis®
Lixiana®, Pradaxa®
48 hours before the procedure

Fraxiparin®, Clexane®
Fraxodi®
24 hours before the procedure
  • Restart 6 hours after the treatment
  • 3 days afterwards, take together with regular blood thinners
  • After a week, anticoagulation follow-up with your GP

By law, you may not drive any vehicles or operate machinery the morning after the treatment. Therefore, make sure that somebody can take you to and from the hospital. The physician or nurses can provide you with certificates, if required. If you wish, the nurses of the Pain Centre can order a taxi for you.

Always inform the physician if:

  • you have diabetes or a heart condition
  • you are (or could be) pregnant
  • you are allergic to certain medications, contrast agents or iodine (disinfectant), latex, etcetera
  • you take a blood thinner (the table shows when to stop your medication).

If you have reduced kidney function, have recently experienced thrombosis or a heart attack or have had a stent implanted, you must contact your attending physician first.

Leaflet

See the leaflet below for more information about:

    • hospital admission
    • spinal cord composition
    • the possible side effects and complications

Centres and specialist areas

Pain Centre

Latest publication date: 11/08/2021