Pain in numbers
Pain is a major problem, strongly associated with an elevated risk of developing activity limitations or participation restrictions, such as the inability to go to work for a living, go to school or even engage in social, community or religious activities (source: The Journal of Pain).
It is also large in number: the prevalence estimate of the overall chronic pain population in the US is approximately 18.4 per cent of the adult population – more than 40 million people. Worldwide, a fifth of the global population has chronic pain lasting 12 weeks or more.
The benefits of using radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive technique that can be used as a therapeutic tool in a variety of pain syndromes such as arthritis of the spine. According to one study, RFA of the medial branch nerves for facet-mediated low back pain demonstrates clinical benefit for 6-12 months, and possibly up to 2 years.
The technique works by disabling nerve fibres carrying the pain signal through the spinal cord to the brain.
In a way similar to a needle biopsy, the RFA procedure involves inserting a needle-like probe into the body. To place the tip of the probe in the correct location, the healthcare provider uses ultrasound or another imaging technique.
Radiofrequency waves are sent out from the probe into the surrounding tissue, which causes the nearby cells to die. As these cells die, the immune system removes them.
The RFA procedure can often take place in an office or outpatient setting and requires no general anaesthesia, though local anesthesia may be used. Most people undergoing RFA can go home the same day as their treatment, and can return to regular daily activities within 24 hours. While generally considered a safe and low risk procedure, side effects of RFA can include hypersensitivity, numbness or tingling at the injection site and damage to the local anatomy.
Spectra’s RF Needles
Spectra Medical Devices is a leading manufacturer of RF needles used by clinicians and medical professionals to treat chronic pain.
We offer the biggest variety of gauges, lengths, active dips echogenic and lubricated RF needles in the industry, in compliance with cGMP/QSR regulations. Our configurations include with or without hub; straight, curved, blunt or sharp tips; and echogenic or non-echogenic.
Our RF needles are made from the highest tensile strength 304 stainless steel and incorporate a tapered, double heat-sealed insulation.
As Dr. Thomas T. Simopoulos, Harvard Medical Faculty Physician of Anesthesiology, explains: “The first thing that they offer is a siliconised tip that allows for smooth passage through the skin. We see that if we have a very blunt needle, or a needle that’s not so smooth, it gets hung up in the skin where there are a lot of nerves and this could increase procedure pain.
Second is the special application of that important insulation of the needle to focus the radiofrequency energy at the tip. Lastly, the steel alloy is critical, so that the needle can be tailored to your desired procedure.”1
Find out more about the patient and clinician benefits of RF needle technology from Spectra Medical Devices by visiting our website at www.spectramedical.com.
 Dr. Simopolous is a paid consultant of Spectra Medical Devices LLC.