Focus of the Report: This Health Technology Assessment focuses on the use of pulsed radiofrequency for the treatment of chronic cervical spinal pain indications.

Technology Description: Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) application is a minimally invasive pain management procedure performed under fluoroscopic or ultrasonographic guidance. The goal of PRF is to provide pain control without the tissue destruction and painful sequelae associated with conventional (continuous) radiofrequency ablation. PRF is performed in an outpatient setting with use of local anesthetics.

Controversy: Uncertainty remains regarding the use of PRF due to the lack of standardized treatment protocols (including dosing parameters and treatment intervals) and methodologies for the assessment of effectiveness and the absence of guidelines that recommend its use for treatment of chronic cervical spinal pain. Furthermore, the duration of the effects of PRF is unclear.

Key Questions:

  1. Is PRF effective for improving pain, function, and other symptoms in adult patients with chronic cervical spinal pain?

  2. How does PRF compare with alternative therapies for the treatment of chronic cervical spinal pain?

  3. Is PRF safe in patients with cervical spinal pain?

  4. Have definitive patient selection criteria been identified for PRF for the treatment of chronic cervical spinal pain?

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