Pulsed Radiofrequency of the Suprascapular Nerve

  • 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.