A hip joint ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to target nerves that are causing hip joint pain. It works by interrupting the sensory input from the femoral and obturator nerves that innervate the hip joint.
The procedure typically takes less than 20 minutes and requires no general anesthesia. It uses fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance and doesn’t require an incision, allowing the patient to return home the same day as the procedure. Pain relief usually begins within one to two weeks of the procedure.
The relief can be relatively long-lasting for some patients and can help improve physical function and reduce drug utilization.
Who is a candidate?
Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment option for patients who have experienced successful pain relief after a diagnostic nerve/pain receptor block injection.
Radiofrequency ablation should NOT be performed on people who have an infection, are pregnant, or have bleeding problems.
What are the results?
Pain relief may last from nine months to more than two years. It is possible the nerve will regrow through the burned lesion that was created by radiofrequency ablation. If the nerve regrows, it is usually 6-12 months after the procedure. Radiofrequency ablation is 70-80% effective in people who have successful nerve blocks. The procedure can be repeated if needed.
What are the risks?
Radiofrequency nerve ablation is relatively safe procedure with minimal risk of complications. The complications reported in the literature include: temporary increase in nerve pain, neuritis, neuroma, localized numbness, infection, allergic reaction to medications used during the procedure, and/or lack of pain relief (in less than 30% of patients).