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Peripheral Nerve Radiofrequency

Radiofrequency is a minimally invasive procedure to interrupt pain signal transmission from a peripheral nerve to brain.  This treatment does not damage nerve cells.  Radio-waves in a pulse mode changes the behavior of  nerve cells.  This effect is temporary but may last 4  months or longer.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

  • You MUST have someone with you to drive home.
  • You may have clear liquids after midnight until 2 hours before your appointment and then nothing to eat or drink.  Clear liquids include Jell-O, broth, 7-Up, tea, coffee and apple juice.  No milk or milk products.  You may take all your normal medications, including pain medication with a sip of water.
  • If you are diabetic or have a bleeding disorder or take medications such as Coumadin or Lovenox that affect your bleeding, please call us at 570-271-6621.
  • Bring a list of your medications including dose and how often you take them.
  • Please bring with you any X-rays or MRI films and reports not done at Geisinger Medical Center.
  • You should plan on being here 2 to 4 hours.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You will be placed in sitting position or on lying position either on your back or on stomach depending on which nerve is affected.
  • The area to be treated will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
  • The area to be treated will be numbed with a local anesthetic

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure takes about 20-30 minutes.

What complications might occur?

  • Fever
  • Infection at injection site
  • Muscle soreness for a few days at the injection site
  • Bleeding
  • Transient burning sensation around the treated peripheral nerve


What happens after the procedure?

You will be taken to our recovery area where your blood pressure and pulse will be monitored for 15-20 min.  You will be offered liquids.  Discharge instructions will be reviewed and you will receive a copy of them when you check out.

You may feel pain relief soon after the procedure, but maximum pain relief will occur 3-4 weeks following the procedure.

Discharge instructions

  • No strenuous activity for 24 hours after the injection. 
  • Do Not drive or operate machinery until the next day.
  • Take your usual pain medications or prescriptions as written.
  • You may eat your normal diet.

Temporary side effects

  • Pain at the treatment site due to muscle irritation
  • Possible burning sensation around the distribution of treated peripheral nerve

Warnings: Call Pain Medicine, 570-271-6621

  • Fever greater then 101 degrees
  • Redness, swelling or pus-like drainage at injection site

Return your follow-up questionnaire in the envelope provided in 7-10 days.

Your return appointment will be scheduled when you check out.

If you have any problems or concerns, please call us at 570-271-6621 Monday through Friday 7:30 to 4:30.  If it is after hours, call 570-271-6211 and ask for the Chronic Pain physician on call.