Queensland Diagnostic Imaging

CT Radio Frequency Ablation

CT Radio Frequency Ablation

Video Duration: 2.48

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Dr. Buchan: Hi, I’m Dr. Craig Buchan. I’m a musculoskeletal and interventional radiologist who works at QDI Varsity Lakes. Sue’s come to us today with a long-term history of chronic low back pain. She’s had multiple investigations in the past suggesting that her facet joints are the cause of the pain. None of the previous treatments that she’s tried has effectively treated her back pain and has impacted her quality of life. And to do the radiofrequency ablation and basically get you some significant pain relief. And radio frequency allows us to heat a small volume of tissue. By using a CT scan, we can accurately place our needle around the nerve supply to the irritated facet joints, and remove the pain sensation going to the brain.

Essentially during the procedure, we clean the skin and then we put some local anesthetic in the skin, and then we place our radio frequency cannula which is a long needle down alongside where the nerve supply is. And we know where the nerve supply is from our anatomy and having really accurate imaging with the CT scanner. Okay. That looks good. Okay. We’ll just do a little scan there and check that position. That’s exactly where we want to be.

So you can see my needle is accurately located at the position of the medial branch supply to the facet joint, and we can very accurately localize this by using a CT scanner. This allows us then to place a probe down and we can deliver very accurate localized heating right where that nerve is, without damaging any of the adjacent important structures.

So what we’re doing by heating the areas, we’re really interrupting the pain signals from that area which don’t go to the brain. So really we’re getting rid of that localized pain which is a major cause of low back pain. At QDI Varsity Lakes really have the latest equipment to performance procedure. We see hundreds of patients each year with symptoms similar to Sue’s, and it’s really nice and rewarding to be able to make a significant difference to their lives and relieve their pain.

Does the pain all go okay? So we’ll put some more… can I get some more xylocaine, thanks. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and we do it as a walk-in/walk-out procedure. The patient, we do it under local anesthetic, and the patient has to lie still on the CAT scanner.

Woman: Well, now I’ve got it all done.

Dr. Buchan: Yeah, all sorted. Yeah, I figured that. It’s good to get it, knock it all over.

Woman: Oh, yeah. No, I’m so happy.

Dr. Buchan: It went excellent. Yep. All right. I hope it does the trick for you.

Woman:I’m just so happy.

Dr. Buchan: Keep you going. Cool.

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