Radiofrequency Ablation (RBA)

[ ray-dee-ow free-kwuhn-see uh-blay-shn ]

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that has been used for many decades to manage pain. It uses radiofrequency to convert electromagnetic signals into heat energy, which is then delivered to the tissue being treated through a probe or needle. The term "ablation" refers to the removal or destruction of tissue using high temperatures or chemicals. During an RFA for back pain, nerves, and surrounding tissue are destroyed or removed.

However, the long-term negative effects of tissue destruction have been observed, and recent studies show that RFA with exercise is no better than exercise alone. Destroying nerves in the low back discs can cause more damage and degenerate the disc over time. Furthermore, RFA can kill off the multifidus muscle, which can cause instability in the low back and more wear and tear on the low back discs, joints, and ligaments.


While it is difficult to attribute the invention of RFA to a single individual, there were key contributors to its development. Dr. Irving S. Cooper is often credited as one of the pioneers in the field for his early work on utilizing radiofrequency energy for surgical purposes. Additionally, Dr. Bernard J. Cosman made significant advancements in the application of radiofrequency technology for tissue ablation, further shaping the technique.