Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that there is not much good evidence about how well this procedure works. The 5 studies that NICE looked at involved a total of 182 patients.

Generally, most patients reported the following benefits up to 6–10 months after the procedure:

  • improved symptoms, including less pain in about 75% of patients

  • satisfaction with the treatment.

In a study of 37 patients, most (84%) said that they would have the procedure again.

In 1 patient, symptoms came back 9 months after treatment, but were successfully treated. Some patients had no benefit and about 30% of patients in a study of 38 patients had surgery to remove the nerve.

The studies showed that the risks of radiofrequency ablation for Morton's neuroma included:

  • infection in 1 patient

  • nerve irritation in 1 patient

  • a blood-filled swelling in 1 patient

  • burns caused by incorrect positioning of the probe in 2 patients.

NICE was also told about some other possible risks: bruising, scarring around the nerve, and destruction of bone tissue.

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard