At the UCLA Neuromodulation for Movement Disorders and Pain Program, our team performs radiofrequency ablation to treat chronic pain conditions, such as trigeminal neuralgia. While this surgery can't cure your condition, it can ease your pain and make life more enjoyable.
Ablation is a medical term that refers to the removal of tissue. Radiofrequency ablation, or RFA, is a surgical technique that directs high-frequency heat onto targeted areas of the body, such as tissues, tumors and - in the case of chronic pain - nerves.
If you suffer from trigeminal neuralgia, your neurosurgeon uses radiofrequency ablation to target the trigeminal nerve, destroying its ability to transmit pain signals to your brain.
The first line of treatment for trigeminal neuralgia is medication. If you suffer from severe facial pain and do not respond well to medication, your doctor may recommend radiofrequency ablation surgery.
Patients are awake and asleep at different times during radiofrequency ablation for trigeminal neuralgia. Here's what you should expect:
The treatment can be repeated if pain recurs.
Interested in radiofrequency ablation at UCLA? Get prepared for your first appointment.