As modern health care technology continues to evolve, there is a growing demand for minimally invasive treatments. Today, one game-changing medical solution is radiofrequency ablation (RFA), a non-surgical procedure used to treat conditions including peripheral nerve pain, arthritis, sacroiliitis, neck/back pain, and even cancer. This burgeoning technology stands to benefit all types of patients, including those with conditions that make surgery too risky to attempt.

How Radiofrequency Ablation Technology Works

RFA uses an electric current, or radio waves, to heat and destroy (ablate) a certain target—most commonly nerve fibers in tissue that carry pain signals to the brain, and also cancer cells. 

 

Typically, a medical professional uses an intravenous sedative to relax the patient, followed by a local anesthetic to the area of interest. (An x-ray helps pinpoint the exact location of the pain.) Then, the doctor inserts a needle containing a microelectrode that produces a small radiofrequency current. This procedure, guided by computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), kills the pain-inducing tissue or neutralizes abnormal cells. 

The Outlook for RFA Patients

RFA is an effective treatment for many patients and helps to avoid surgical complications. For chronic pain cases, most people experience significant relief. The exact level of comfort varies by condition, treatment area, and type of ablation. 

 

Patients can generally resume their normal activities and schedules after a few days, though around 10% still experience pain a week after the ablation. On average, it takes at least three weeks to feel the full benefits of RFA. The pain relief usually lasts six to 12 months, or even years. On occasion, nerves can grow back and ablation may need to be repeated.

 

Expertise Is Vital to New Product Development

Radiofrequency ablation is an invaluable tool used to treat a range of ailments. This is why leading-edge medical device development practices are crucial. Proper due diligence is essential not only for safety and efficacy reasons; it also helps with navigating regulatory challenges and speeds time to market. 

 

Pathway NPI partners with biotech entrepreneurs and inventors to design, validate, and produce medical device solutions. We bring concepts to market efficiently by leveraging our industry-leading capabilities and resources. One chief goal is to decrease manufacturing cost and complexity, a process known as Design for Manufacturability (DFM). Strategies for assembly, production, and other areas can impact the overall cost and timeline. Ultimately, each design element must contribute to the whole so products can be viable and economical to manufacture.

We often see others’ mistakes during conceptualization stages—they might pay too much for tooling or create needless design complexity, for example. Our experts know how to avoid costly redesigns while following the FDA’s stringent guidelines for quality control. This is the basis of our quality assurance pathway, which guides the entire product development life cycle and creates a strategic approach for launch.

Do you have an innovative idea for a new RFA solution? Let Pathway NPI help you navigate the journey to a successful product launch. As a one-stop-shop for medical device design, development, and manufacturing, our multidisciplinary team knows what it takes to bring your invention to life. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.