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Pain Physician. 2014 Jan-Feb;17(1):E83-7.

Combined ultrasound and fluoroscopic guidance for radiofrequency ablation of the obturator nerve for intractable cancer-associated hip pain.

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UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.


Management of pain from skeletal metastases is notoriously difficult. Case reports and case series have described radiofrequency ablation of the obturator nerve branches to the femoral head for treatment of intractable hip pain. Ablation of the obturator branches to the femoral head is technically difficult because of bony and vascular anatomy, including close proximity of the femoral vessels. Here we present the case of a 79-year-old woman with intractable right hip pain and inability to ambulate secondary to metastatic non-small cell lung cancer in the femoral head and acetabulum, treated with thermal radiofrequency ablation of the obturator and femoral nerve branches to the femoral head. Ablation of the obturator nerve was done via anterior placement of the radiofrequency needle under combined ultrasound and fluoroscopic guidance, passing the radiofrequency needle between the femoral artery and femoral vein. Real-time ultrasound guidance was used to avoid vascular puncture. Thermal radiofrequency ablation resulted in sustained pain relief, and resumption in the ability of the patient to ambulate. From this case we suggest that an anterior approach to the obturator nerve branches to the femoral head may be technically feasible using combined ultrasound and fluoroscopic guidance to avoid vascular puncture.

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