Radiofrequency Ablation

What Is Radiofrequency Ablation?

First used in 1931 to treat a patient with trigeminal neuralgia, radiofrequency ablation is now frequently used to treat a myriad of chronic pain.

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure which helps patients with chronic pain to avoid surgeries and long recovery times.

It starts with a medial branch block which locates the precise nerve suffering from damage, so the pain signals can be interrupted.

What does the procedure look like?

Someone from your procedure team at Portland Pain and Spine  will clean and sterilize the area along the spine in which your procedure will be performed. Before they administer the local anesthesia, they will likely use a topical anesthetic to numb the area.

Once you are comfortable and numb, they will place another needle in your back. While your doctor moves the needle into the area for the radiofrequency ablation, he will be using fluoroscopic (X-Ray) guidance. A small microelectrode travels through the needle to sit near the damaged nerve tissue in question.

To make sure the correct nerve is targeted they will send a mild electrical current through the microelectrode. Once the microelectrode is in the proper place, a numbing agent will be applied to the nerve before a heat-generating electrical current is administered. If there is inflammation present your doctor may also inject some corticosteroids.

The entire procedure takes between 30 – 90 minutes.

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We want to assure our patients that Portland Pain and Spine remains open and actively managing your pain. Medication management is given the highest priority. Our relocation across the hall in the Washington building is complete but requires office renovation before we can accommodate patient visits. Staffing shortages affected our ability to communicate last month, however, this was temporary. Dr. Balog has reached out to all patients but asks that if anyone has additional questions or concerns to contact him at
We have updated our phone messaging system to assist with calls. There are now options to speak with a live receptionist, leave messages or speak with our new billing company. Medical record requests can be processed on our website at and are handled by Morgan Records Management. Thank you for your patience during this transition. We look forward to providing you high-quality care as we enter into 2024! 

Wishing you all a joyful holiday season.