Radiofrequency neurotomy (RFN) is a non surgical treatment to assist in the management of hip pain. A fine needle probe is placed into specific locations about the hip, where sensory nerve fibres arise from the joint. RFN is conducted using both X-Ray and ultrasound guidance to ensure accurate and safe conduct of the procedure. An electric current is passed through the RFN probe, that in turn heats the tissue adjacent to the needle tip, disrupting signal transmission of sensory nerve branches arising from the joint. In this way, reduction of pain from the joint can be achieved for 12 months or greater. In the hip, typically the sensory branches of the femoral and obturator nerves are treated by RFN. RFN will not provide complete pain relief however, as other nerve branches (not suitable for RFN therapy) also provide sensation to the hip joint. RFN of the hip joint is conducted in hospital under a general anaesthetic as a day procedure (go home same day).
Indications for radiofrequency ablation
- Persistent symptoms from hip arthritis
- People who are experiencing symptoms not considered severe enough to justify hip joint replacement
- People who are medically unfit for joint replacement
- Where a delay in undertaking hip replacement is desireable
- Some cases of residual pain after joint replacement procedures
- Adjunct to the certain hip arthroscopy procedures