Latest Evidence-Based Application for Radiofrequency Neurotomy (LEARN): Best Practice Guidelines from the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN)

J Pain Res. 2021 Sep 8:14:2807-2831. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S325665. eCollection 2021.


Radiofrequency neurotomy (RFN), also known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA), is a common interventional procedure used to treat pain from an innervated structure. RFN has historically been used to treat chronic facet-joint mediated pain. The use of RFN has more recently expanded beyond facet-joint mediated pain to peripherally innervated targets. In addition, there has also been the emergence of different radiofrequency modalities, including pulsed and cooled RFN. The use of RFN has been particularly important where conservative and/or surgical measures have failed to provide pain relief. With the emergence of this therapeutic option and its novel applications, the American Society of Pain and Neuroscience (ASPN) identified the need for formal evidence-based guidance. The authors formed a multidisciplinary work group tasked to examine the latest evidence-based medicine for the various applications of RFN, including cervical, thoracic, lumbar spine; posterior sacroiliac joint pain; hip and knee joints; and occipital neuralgia. Best practice guidelines, evidence and consensus grading were provided for each anatomical target.

Keywords: chronic pain; cooled ablation; occipital neuralgia; peripheral joint neurotomy; pulsed ablation; radiofrequency ablation; radiofrequency neurotomy; sacroiliac joint neurotomy.

Publication types

  • Review