Computational Analysis of Pulsed Radiofrequency Ablation in Treating Chronic Pain
In this paper, a parametric study has been conducted to evaluate the effects of frequency and duration of the short burst pulses during pulsed radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in treating chronic pain. Affecting the brain and nervous system, this disease remains one of the major challenges in neuroscience and clinical practice. A two-dimensional axisymmetric RFA model has been developed in which a single needle radiofrequency electrode has been inserted. A finite-element-based coupled thermo-electric analysis has been carried out utilizing the simplified Maxwell’s equations and the Pennes bioheat transfer equation to compute the electric field and temperature distributions within the computational domain. Comparative studies have been carried out between the continuous and pulsed RFA to highlight the significance of pulsed RFA in chronic pain treatment. The frequencies and durations of short burst RF pulses have been varied from 1 Hz to 10 Hz and from 10 ms to 50 ms, respectively. Such values are most commonly applied in clinical practices for mitigation of chronic pain. By reporting such critical input characteristics as temperature distributions for different frequencies and durations of the RF pulses, this computational study aims at providing the first-hand accurate quantitative information to the clinicians on possible consequences in those cases where these characteristics are varied during the pulsed RFA procedure. The results demonstrate that the efficacy of pulsed RFA is significantly dependent on the duration and frequency of the RF pulses.