Interventional Procedures

Pain Specialists of Austin

In our commitment to minimally invasive treatments for spine and nerve pain, the physicians at Pain Specialists of Austin have experience with interventional procedures. These procedures are intended for patients with severe pain that hasn’t responded to other treatments.

Patients who are candidates for nerve blocks may also benefit from cryotherapy (which freezes nerves to destroy them) or radiofrequency thermocoagulation (which uses heats to destroy nerves). Learn more about each of these below and call (512) 485-7200 to schedule an appointment with an Austin pain expert.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy (also called cryoablation) is a method that freezes nerves to help decrease pain. Cryotherapy is often used to treat conditions that involve an isolated nerve that is irritated, including benign nerve growths such as a neuroma and pinched nerves. At Pain Specialists of Austin, we frequently perform cryotherapy along the occipital nerves located at the base of the skull to treat headaches and occipital neuralgia.

During the procedure, a probe is inserted close to the affected nerve. The probe is cooled by a gas called nitrous oxide. You may experience some pressure and discomfort during the procedure. The procedure usually takes 30 minutes to complete. After the procedure, you can expect soreness at the site where the probe was inserted.

Cryotherapy inactivates the nerve it treats, producing variable pain relief that can last from two weeks to four months.

Radiofrequency Thermocoagulation

Radiofrequency thermocoagulation (RFTC) uses heat to destroy the nerve near a problem joint. This procedure prevents pain signals from traveling to the brain and helps to relieve pain symptoms. RFTC is performed only when pain relief is obtained after a diagnostic block.

RFTC is done under fluoroscopic guidance, and a contrast dye may be injected into the affected area to help get a better image. During the procedure, a needle probe is placed near the irritated nerve. Next, a micro-electrode is inserted through the probe and heated to 90°C by a small radiofrequency (RF) current for 60–90 seconds to trigger the stimulation process. The heat destroys the nerve, eliminating pain pathways in the surrounding tissues.

RFTC will not provide a permanent cure, as the nerve fiber will regenerate usually within 12 months.

Want to know if you could benefit from cryotherapy or RFTC? We have solutions for every kind of pain, so call Pain Specialists of Austin today at (512) 485-7200 or request an appointment online.