Pulsed radiofrequency is a minimally invasive procedure in which a radio frequency electrical field is applied intermittently to the nerve (pudendal nerve) which, may be responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain (Chronic Pelvic Pain).
It is applied in short intervals to keep the temperature low around the nerve. This does not destroy the nerve but stuns the nerve which may result in giving you pain relief. In most patients, pain relief can last for a few months or even longer. The procedure may be repeated if the pain returns.
PRF treatments are performed when the pudendal nerve block treatment you have had for your pain has worked but only for a limited time. The treatment aims to relieve or reduce pain, and this will help to reduce spasm and dysfunction in other compartments (urinary and fecal) as well.
The expected improvement is around 70% (7 out of 10 patients experience an improvement in main and collateral symptoms lasting from a few months up to 1 year). The procedure can be repeated more times.
You will be asked to lay on your stomach for this procedure. Your back will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution and drapes placed over you to prevent infection.
This procedure will be done under the neurophysiological guide to help the doctor direct the PRF needle onto the pudendal nerve. The skin over the injection site will be numbed using a local anesthetic.
An electrode (Thermo probe) is then inserted through the bigger needle near the nerve which may be involved in pain transmission.
The nerve is located by gentle stimulation and you may experience some discomfort, twitching, or tingling of the nerve during this procedure. This is a good sign; it helps the doctor know if he is putting the PRF needle exactly where it needs to be.
Then the pulsed radiofrequency machine is connected to the Thermo probe and the electrical field is applied intermittently (which you may or may not feel).
Immediately after the procedure, the majority of patients feel an improvement or relief in their pain, however for some patients, the relief may take a few weeks to take effect. Some patients may not feel any relief at all.
Side effects and risks are rare and may include infection, bleeding, temporary worsening of the pain, nerve damage, and a decrease in blood pressure (with light headiness and nausea).
There is a small risk of neural damage. Your leg may feel weak after this procedure. If you experience any of these complications, seek medical advice immediately.
Before treatment, you should ask your doctor before signing the consent form.