Radiofrequency Lesioning Procedure

Patients who suffer from chronic, debilitating pain have another option for treatment called radiofrequency lesioning. Our neurosurgeons at the Center for Neuromodulation at Mount Sinai offer this technique to treat pain that has not responded to standard medical care such as medications and therapy.

What is Radiofrequency Lesioning?

Our experts at the Department of Neurosurgery use radiofrequency energy to heat an electrode in order to make a lesion in an offending nerve or nervous tissue so signals that transmit pain are blocked. Radiofrequency denotes oscillation, and the rate of oscillation produced in radiofrequency lesioning is set by the neurosurgeon to heat electrodes to a pre-selected temperature.

Once that temperature is reached, the electrode is kept in place for varying times depending on the size of the lesion needed to produce the desired results. Occasionally the procedure must be repeated to gain adequate pain relief.

Effective Treatment for Chronic Pain Conditions

Conditions treated by radiofrequency nerve lesioning included the following:

  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Brachial plexus avulsions where nerves in the upper body are injured sending severe pain into the arms
  • Post herpetic neuralgia
  • Pain syndromes resulting from spinal cord injury
  • Intractable cancer pain

This procedure can be used safely in both the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) or in the peripheral nerves that enervate the limbs and internal organs. It is preformed on an outpatient basis and generally done under local anesthesia.

Who is Eligible for the Procedure?

Because radiofrequency lesioning is a means of depriving the nervous system of sensory input, which can cause unpleasant side effects, this procedure is only used to treat severe, unrelenting chronic pain.

While making this type of lesion in the nervous tissue is sometimes necessary for a decent quality of life, it should not be undertaken lightly. Patients who are candidates for this procedure will undergo neuropsychological evaluations.


Contact Us

Center for Neuromodulation
Tel: 212-241-0050

1468 Madison Avenue
Annenberg Building
8th Floor Room 40
New York, NY 10029