RFTC is a safe, non-surgical treatment. There are a few possible complications related to RFTC but the risk is low. Your doctor will gladly explain the procedure and the risks to you in detail and answer any question that you may have.
You may experience an increase in pain and/or muscle spam for the first several days following the procedure. Additional pain medications or muscle relaxants may be necessary to help you stay comfortable.
You may notice some swelling and bruising at the needle sites. Using a cold pack will ease the discomfort.
You will be given an instruction sheet on what to do and whom to call should you have any question or concern.
Your doctor will arrange a follow-up appointment or phone consult within three to four weeks after the procedure to see how you are doing.
The degree of pain relief varies from person to person. The maximum decrease in pain may take up to three or more weeks to occur. You can eventually expect 50 percent or greater pain relief. Pain relief can last from six to12 months, or longer. The nerves do repair themselves and your pain may return. The procedure can be repeated if the pain returns some later time.
It is important that you start a program of conditioning, strengthening, and range of motion exercises after radiofrequency ablation. Ideally, increased muscle strength around the arthritic joints will make pain relief more prolonged after radiofrequency ablation. With rehabilitation, when the nerves do regenerate, you will not likely experience the same intensity of pain as before the procedure.
You may be prescribed a formal physical therapy program after undergoing the RFTC procedure.