Purpose – To help patients with chronic shoulder pain.
Overview – Pulsed radiofrequency ablation of the suprascapular nerve is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that reduces shoulder pain by causing a change in the nerves at a cellular level. It does this by creating an electrical field around the nerve.
Before the procedure – The anti-inflammatory solution may increase your blood sugars if used. If you have a history of issues with elevated blood sugars then you should discuss this with your primary care doctor, or endocrinologist.
Details – A needle is directed towards the nerve above the shoulder. This may be done with ultrasound, or fluoroscopic guidance.
After the procedure – There may be immediate pain relief from the anesthetic. The pulsed RF may take a week or two to take effect.
Potential complications – There may be potential complications from the steroid if it is used. These would include elevated blood sugars, osteonecrosis, neurovascular injury but these are very unlikely. A serious potential complication is pneumothorax, but the risk of this is very minimal if image guidance is used.