It’s called radiofrequency ablation, a procedure during which heated radiofrequency energy is injected directly into spinal tumors, selectively destroying nerves that carry pain impulses. The radiofrequency energy is created by a special generator and delivered with precision through a small insulated needle. The procedure takes about one hour and can provide almost instant spinal pain relief that lasts anywhere from a few months up to one year.

Yesterday, Interventional Radiologist Clint Wood, M.D. performed the procedure on a 74-year old cancer patient who came to Sparks in debilitating pain. His wife said she felt lucky they were visiting this area from Kentucky. “We didn’t know anything about this treatment,” said Helga Wade. “There is definitely a night and day difference in his pain level. Right now he is in no pain. We are leaving today to travel back home.”

Dr. Wood says radiofrequency ablation treatments were previously only available in Arkansas in Little Rock. “Patients here need to know there’s an option that is especially helpful for terminal patients who want pain relief without the side effects of heavy pain medicines. This treatment does not cure cancer. It manages pain so people can live their lives more comfortably.”

Dr. Wood specializes in many other neurovascular treatments, including the minimally-invasive removal and/or containment of blood clots, aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations in the brain. He also treats vertebral compression fractures, peripheral vascular disease, aortic aneurysms and uterine fibroids.

Sparks Regional Medical Center has a strong history dating back to 1887 as the first hospital in Arkansas. The 492-bed facility provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient surgical and diagnostic health care services, including a Gold Seal Accredited Primary Stroke Center and Accredited Chest Pain Center.

Sparks Health System includes the hospital, Sparks Clinic physician’s group, 38 clinic practices, Sparks Home Health, Sparks PremierCare and the fully-integrated Marvin Altman Fitness Center. For more information, visit