Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that can give lasting pain relief from facet joint pain. This highly effective treatment requires a thermal lesion or application of heat to the appropriate areas to “shut off” or disable pain signals. Theorectically, by “deadening” the sensory nerve to the facet joint or sacroiliac joint, pain signals are prevented from reaching the brain. The thermal lesion allows the small nerve endings that are causing your pain to retract and relieve your pain symptoms.
This procedure is performed at the same levels of your facet joint injection. The sacroiliac RF will be performed along the SI joint and will lesion at multiple locations along the SI joint.
Risks and Complications
Bleeding – this is very rare. This is the reason you must remain off aspirin based products for at least 3-5 days prior to the injection. Also, if you are on any blood thinners you should be off of those as well for 5 days.
Infection – this is very rare. Keep an eye on the injection site over the few days following the injection. If any redness, bleeding or seeping of fluids is noticed, please call the office and speak with a staff member immediately.
If you experience a fever, chills or extremity weakness, please call the office immediately.
You can expect to have some discomfort for 5-7 days. Since a thermal lesion is being performed underneath the skin, the area must to “heal” from the inside out – this takes some time. You may feel worse before you feel better. You may experience muscle spasms following the injection, this is normal. You can use ice and/or heat as needed to treat the area. Most patients have significant pain relief for 6 months to 1 year. This procedure can be repeated if the pain returns.