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Now offering cooled radiofrequency ablation to treat back, neck pain

Deb Mauro-Bender, one of Gritman’s four Certified Nurse Anesthetists who are certified in nonsurgical pain management specialist (NSPM), now offers cooled radiofrequency ablation to help patients suffering facet joint pain or facet joint syndrome/arthropathy, a degenerative arthritis that affects the facet joints of the spine and causes significant pain.

The procedure, which involves the destruction (also called ablation) of nerves to reduce certain kinds of chronic pain by preventing transmission of pain signals, can provide pain relief for up to a year and eliminate the need for medications like opioids, joint injections or surgery. People with facet problems can suffer from low back or neck pain with movement of their spine. The pain is worse when active and may improve with rest. It is not associated with pain radiating into extremities.

“For some people who can hardly walk and move, cooled radiofrequency ablation allows them to go back to immediately doing their normal daily activities,” Mauro-Bender said.

Mauro-Bender completed a two-year externship and studied under experts in the field. She said compared to older methods, cooled radiofrequency ablation creates a larger lesion that will ensure the nerve is ablated. Due to variations in the locations of each individual’s nerves, traditional radiofrequency ablation sometimes misses the nerve.

While the procedure generally takes about half an hour, it does require anesthesia.

“You wake up really fast; you feel great; you can go home and you can resume your normal activities right away,” Mauro-Bender said.

Most patients are seen through a referral from their primary care physician, however, referrals are not required. Call 208-883-6700 for more information.

Read more about radiofrequency ablation at our Online Clinic at http://bit.ly/radiofrequency_ablation.