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Third-degree full-thickness burns as a complication of cervical radiofrequency ablation


A 46-year-old woman underwent a cervical radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for chronic neck pain. Following the procedure, two areas surrounding the grounding pad in the lumbar region developed full thickness third-degree burns. Burn injuries following cervical RFA are rarely reported and are most often associated with cardiac and solid tumour RFA. Only one other case has been reported in literature with a similar outcome following a thoracic facet RFA. In our case, the lesion was directly from the ground pad and not from the radiofrequency electrode, which is more often the culprit. This is the first case reported in the literature of a full-thickness skin burn from a cervical RFA. Physicians should be aware of the potential for severe burns around the RF probe and ground pad as sequelae of RFA, and we caution the use of sedation during the procedure, as patients will unlikely be able to report any unusual sensation.

  • pain (neurology)
  • rehabilitation medicine
  • pain

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