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Table 1 Comparison of continuous vs. pulse RF

From: Assessing the effectiveness of ‘pulse radiofrequency treatment of dorsal root ganglion’ in patients with chronic lumbar radicular pain: study protocol for a randomized control trial

  Continuous RF Pulsed RF
First used Shealy 1975 Sluijter and others 1998
Application Continuous RF energy for 90 s RF energy in pulses of 20 ms with wash-out period of 480 ms
Needle tip Parallel and by the side of target Perpendicular, pointing at the target
Tissue temperature achieved Up to 80°C Up to 42°C
Proposed mechanism of action Non-selective thermal destruction Neurobiological - by strong electrical fields
Side effects Deafferentation syndrome No side effects observed so far
Duration of effect Potentially long lasting (months) ? Relatively short duration
Use on peripheral nerves Cannot be used -contraindicated Has been effectively used in peripheral mono-neuropathies