Trigeminal neuralgia (TN) is usually caused by irritation of the trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal nerve is the cranial nerve which supplies sensation to the face. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure that targets the trigeminal nerve, altering its ability to transmit pain signals to your brain and therefore reduce the pain. Radiofrequency ablation is a good option for severe pain in high-risk patients that would make an open surgical procedure too dangerous. Radiofrequency ablation is a common percutaneous procedure used to treat Trigeminal neuralgia, especially in elderly patients.
Radiofrequency ablation has some distinct advantages over the other approaches. It can be administered as either pulsed or lesion. Intraoperative sensory and motor testing can be performed. The needle is smaller in calibre and therefore is less traumatic. It is performed as a day procedure and patients recover well to go home the same day.