Ablation treats chronic pain by burning or freezing nerve tissue or tumors to remove the source of pain. This can be done using heat (radiofrequency ablation) or cold (cryoablation). The procedure typically uses a thin, flexible probe inserted into the body through a small incision or a needle. Ultrasound or X-ray imaging ensures proper positioning of the probe.

Ablation is an outpatient procedure and has a shorter recovery time than open surgery. It is often used to treat chronic pain caused by conditions such as arthritis, cancer, and neuropathy.

hands holding ablation catheter

Endovenous Ablation

Endovenous ablation (also called Endovenous Thermal Ablation) is a frequent method for treating varicose veins. The procedure collapses the vein causing it to shrink and eventually dissolve and disappear. Healthy, nearby veins continue to carry blood away from the legs efficiently.

Endovenous ablation is an image-guided, minimally invasive procedure using laser energy, radiofrequency, or steam to cauterize (burn) and close varicose veins. The process is safe, less invasive than conventional surgery, and leaves virtually no scars. The treatment results in less pain than surgical ligation and stripping while providing similar cosmetic results.

Varicose veins before treatment


Same patient after treatment


Endovenous ablation steps for treating varicose veins

Intradiscal Electrothermal Therapy

Intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET), also called intradiscal electrothermal annuloplasty (IDEA), is a minimally invasive procedure for treating low back pain related to the spine’s discs.

The procedure involves the heating of a flexible catheter inserted into the damaged disc. The heat helps repair the disc’s tough outer shell (annulus) and destroys painful nerves near the disc.

Previously, surgery was the only other interventional option for patients suffering from chronic pain occurring in a spinal disc.

X-ray of needle positioned in disc for treatment

Courtesy: ViewMedica

Illustration of catheter placement for treating disc

Courtesy: ViewMedica

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (also called rhizotomy) is a chronic pain management procedure using radio waves to generate heat to destroy nerve tissue. The procedure is non-surgical and minimally invasive for treating chronic pain.

The procedure can help relieve chronic pain in the lower back, neck, and arthritic joints when other approaches have failed. It is best for treating chronic pain that hasn’t improved with other treatments, such as medications or physical therapy.

Radiofrequency ablation offers longer-term pain relief than nerve blocks or other injections.

Radiofrequency Ablation Equipment
Equipment positioned for radiofrequency catheter ablation at knee
Equipment positioned for radiofrequency catheter ablation at ankle


The ClosureFast Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation procedure is a minimally invasive pain management treatment for venous reflux disease. The procedure uses radiofrequency energy to deliver intense heat to treat varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiencies. The heat shrinks and collapses the target vein and closes it off. ClosureFAST procedure has minimal scarring at the site of the incision.

RF ClosureFAST catheter

Courtesy: Medtronic

Illustration of RF ClosureFAST catheter in vein

Courtesy: Medtronic

Illustration of the RF ClosureFAST procedure

Courtesy: Medtronic