Most individuals can attest that the human body is removed from perfect. Despite centuries of medical progress, there are common conditions and occurrences that we don’t fully understand. These include uterine fibroids, benign tumors, and random, inexplicable nerve pain. Many individuals turn to ablation therapy to combat these conditions, but they could not fully understand what it’s or how it really works. “What’s ablation therapy?” is a matter that many individuals have, and it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the procedure to make informed decisions about one’s health.
There are lots of cases where a patient may describe pain with out a clear cause or where it takes weeks, if not months, of diagnostic work to discover the actual perpetrator. Sometimes, it’s an incredibly rare condition. And sometimes, it’s something as benign as random growth.
Sometimes, to heal, you will need to destroy. Medicine isn’t any different. There are cases when the most effective approach to treat a patient’s condition is to remove tissue their body has “naturally” put there, significantly if it’s interfering with essential physical functions or causing symptoms corresponding to pain. That is where, in some cases, ablation therapy comes into play.
What Does Ablation Therapy Mean?
To ablate is to destroy. In a way, ablation therapy is a clinical way of describing the targeted elimination of tissue, normally through extreme heat (corresponding to a laser) or extreme cold (through a chemical process).
In each cases, a medical skilled will goal a particular area and utilize an ablative method to destroy and take away the offending tissue.
If ablation therapy is applied contained in the body, imaging technology guides a needle or electrode to its destination, often with a special contrast dye.
When Is Ablation Therapy Used?
Ablation therapy is most frequently utilized in cases where benign growths (i.e., non-cancerous tumors) could also be physically impinging or pressing on an individual’s nerves, organs, or blood vessels, causing visceral pain, neuropathic pain, or circulatory issues. Ablation therapy is usually really helpful to treat uterine fibroids or heart defects that cause arrhythmia.
Other common reasons to use ablation therapy include cosmetic reasons, corresponding to tattoo removal (which targets the cells under the endodermis which were “coloured” with tattoo dyes), skin whitening, or wart removal.
Some specific examples of ablation therapy include:
Can Ablation Therapy Be Used for Nerve Pain?
Ablation may be achieved in some ways. Nevertheless, when targeting specific tissue – corresponding to a nerve ending, which is often inside the body – certainly one of the various challenges for successfully targeted ablation is finding a approach to destroy a highly specific area of tissue without damaging surrounding tissues.
Considered one of the methods doctors use to unravel this particular problem is radiofrequency ablation.
While microwaves are utilized in certain types of tissue ablation, radiofrequency ablation works in a different way.
As an alternative, a current is distributed to a conductive point on the tip of a specialized electrode, inserted into the body at a particular frequency. This enables heat to be applied to a single point within the body for a remarkably very short period, enough to destroy targeted cells without causing damage to the remaining of the body. In other words, this can be a unique type of heat-based ablation, utilizing electricity internally quite than a laser for external applications.
The explanation this is known as a “radiofrequency ablation” is since the heat is being generated by an alternating current (AC) fluctuating inside a medium frequency (also generally known as a radio frequency) between 350 and 500 kHz.
And yes, there’s reason for this particular range. Radio frequencies are used because this range doesn’t provide enough current to stimulate the encompassing nerves or tissue, meaning you don’t get an electrical shock. As such, there isn’t any danger of an opposed effect brought on by introducing electricity into the body.
Radiofrequency ablation shouldn’t be just helpful in treating nerve damage. Along with helping goal highly specific points within the body, corresponding to an abnormal growth or damaged nerve ending along the spine, radiofrequency ablation is usually used to treat tumors inside an organ, corresponding to the lung, liver, and even bone. Additionally it is used for heart conditions, skin lesions, varicose veins, and to treat sleep apnea brought on by obstructive tissue.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
All types of ablation therapy are ultimately minimally invasive procedures. While it’s a procedure that requires an outpatient visit – imaging machines and various specialized medical tools are needed to perform several types of ablation therapy – more often than not, patients remain awake and under the consequences of local anesthesia and will probably be free to go home the exact same day.
Depending on where the ablation was applied, a patient could also be protected to drive. Nevertheless, if the patient’s ablation therapy was applied contained in the body, they ought to be driven home – and must refrain from strenuous activity for not less than 24 hours.
While unintended effects and complications are rare, they do occur, and doctors will explain what patients should look out for. If a patient experiences severe or recurring pain after ablation therapy, swelling, or sudden bruising, they need to call immediately. Bleeding and infection – normally on the needle insertion site – are unusual.
If radiofrequency ablation is used to treat nerve pain, patients should know that there’s a risk the procedure doesn’t fully address the origin of the pain.
Your doctor might first recommend a distinct treatment – corresponding to a localized nerve block – to determine whether destroying the nerve will lead to an improvement, to start with. If the nerve block wears off and the pain continues to affect a patient’s quality of life severely, nerve ablation could also be on the table.
Ablation therapy could also be used with other treatment methods to assist reduce nerve pain and improve quality of life. Nevertheless, along with permanently destroying the affected nerve, nerve ablation therapy may only provide limited or temporary, albeit long-term, pain relief generally. Peripheral nerves – corresponding to those in your back and limbs – will heal with time, at which point the pain might return.