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      Effect of Pulsed Radiofrequency on Rat Sciatic Nerve Chronic Constriction Injury: A Preliminary Study

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          Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) application to the dorsal root ganglia can reduce neuropathic pain (NP) in animal models, but the effect of PRF on damaged peripheral nerves has not been examined. We investigated the effect of PRF to the rat sciatic nerve (SN) on pain-related behavior and SN ultrastructure following chronic constriction injury (CCI).


          The analgesic effect was measured by hindpaw mechanical withdrawal threshold (MWT) and thermal withdrawal latency (TWL). Twenty rats with NP induced by ligating the common SN were then randomly divided into a PRF treatment group and a sham group. The contralateral SN served as a control. The MWT and TWL were determined again 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 days after the PRF or sham treatment. On day 14, ipsilateral and contralateral common SNs were excised and examined by electron microscopy.


          Ipsilateral MWT was significantly reduced and TWL significantly shorter compared to the contralateral side 14 days after CCI (both P = 0.000). In the PRF group, MWT was significantly higher and TWL significantly longer 14 days after the PRF treatment compared to before PRF treatment (both P = 0.000), while no such difference was observed in the sham group ( P > 0.05). Electron microscopy revealed extensive demyelination and collagen fiber formation in the ipsilateral SN of sham-treated rats but sparse demyelination and some nerve fiber regrowth in the PRF treatment group.


          Hyperalgesia is relieved, and ultrastructural damage ameliorated after direct PRF treatment to the SN in the CCI rat model of NP.

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          Most cited references 22

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          A peripheral mononeuropathy in rat that produces disorders of pain sensation like those seen in man.

           Gary Bennett,  Y. Xie (1988)
          A peripheral mononeuropathy was produced in adult rats by placing loosely constrictive ligatures around the common sciatic nerve. The postoperative behavior of these rats indicated that hyperalgesia, allodynia and, possibly, spontaneous pain (or dysesthesia) were produced. Hyperalgesic responses to noxious radiant heat were evident on the second postoperative day and lasted for over 2 months. Hyperalgesic responses to chemogenic pain were also present. The presence of allodynia was inferred from the nocifensive responses evoked by standing on an innocuous, chilled metal floor or by innocuous mechanical stimulation, and by the rats' persistence in holding the hind paw in a guarded position. The presence of spontaneous pain was suggested by a suppression of appetite and by the frequent occurrence of apparently spontaneous nocifensive responses. The affected hind paw was abnormally warm or cool in about one-third of the rats. About one-half of the rats developed grossly overgrown claws on the affected side. Experiments with this animal model may advance our understanding of the neural mechanisms of neuropathic pain disorders in humans.
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            Pulsed radiofrequency for chronic pain.

            Pulsed radiofrequency (PRF), a technology related to continuous radiofrequency, is unique in that it provides pain relief without causing significant damage to nervous tissue. The mechanism by which PRF controls pain is unclear, but it may involve a temperature-independent pathway mediated by a rapidly changing electrical field. Although much anecdotal evidence exists in favor of PRF, there are few quality studies substantiating its utility.
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              Comparison of pulsed radiofrequency with conventional radiofrequency in the treatment of idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia.

              The aim of this prospective, randomized, double-blinded study was to evaluate the effect of pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) in comparison with conventional radiofrequency (CRF) in the treatment of idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. A total of 40 patients with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia were included. The 20 patients in each group were randomly assigned to one of the two treatment groups. Each patient in the Group 1 was treated with CRF, whereas each patient in the Group 2 was treated by PRF. Evaluation parameters were: pain intensity using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), patient satisfaction using a Patient Satisfaction Scale (PSS), additional pharmacological treatment, side effects, and complications related to the technique. The VAS scores decreased significantly (p<0.001) and PSS improved significantly after the procedure in Group 1. The VAS score decreased in only 2 of 20 patients from the PRF group (Group 2) and pain recurrence occurred 3 months after the procedure. At the end of 3 months, we decided to perform CRF in Group 2, because all patients in this group still had intractable pain. After the CRF treatment, the median VAS score decreased (p<0.001) and PSS improved (p<0.001) significantly. In conclusion, the results of our study demonstrate that unlike CRF, PRF is not an effective method of pain treatment for idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia.

                Author and article information

                Chin Med J (Engl)
                Chin. Med. J
                Chinese Medical Journal
                Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
                20 February 2015
                : 128
                : 4
                : 540-544
                [1 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Beijing Children's Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100045, China
                [2 ]Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100050, China
                [3 ]Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100050, China
                Author notes

                Duo-Yi Li and Lan Meng contributed equally to this work.

                Address for correspondence: Prof. Fang Luo, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100050, China E-Mail: luofangwt@
                Copyright: © 2015 Chinese Medical Journal

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

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