Tests and treatments

Pulsed radiofrequency treatment of nerve roots

What is it?

What is it?

Due to wear and tear (arthrosis), inflammation, surgery or an accident, the spinal column may undergo change an can lead to ‘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, down towards the ankle.

Denervation can be helpful 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.

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.

Practical information

Practical information

Come to the hospital on the day of treatment. Your last light meal should be at least six hours before the treatment. Drinking clear fluids, such as tea, coffee (without milk), water, and apple juice (without pulp) can be consumed up to two hours before the treatment.

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 blood thinners

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.

You will find an overview of the medications that you must stop taking before the treatment (and when) in the leaflet at the bottom of this page.

Latest publication date: 15/03/2022