Overview & Procedure
Two sets of sacroiliac lateral branch nerve blocks (similar to medial branch nerve blocks) will need to be performed prior to receiving this procedure.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) uses an electrical current from radio waves to heat nerve tissue and reduce pain signals. RFA is a common procedure used to treat pain from arthritic joints. Prior to undergoing a Sacroiliac joint RFA a patient will need to have a set of test blocks called Sacroiliac Lateral Branch Nerve Block performed to ensure the RFA will be effective at reducing their pain. RFA is an outpatient procedure that takes 15 to 20 minutes and is typically performed with sedation.
After IV sedation has been given, the doctor will inject local anesthetic to reduce pain. Using fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, a thin probe is guided to a target area. During the procedure, the doctor will ask the patient questions about their sensations to determine if the probe is in the correct area. Once the placement is verified, the radiofrequency process begins, and the probe is heated which cauterizes the small nerve tissue transmitting chronic pain signals.
Immediately after the procedure, patients are sent to a separate room to recover. During this time, the patient’s vitals are monitored for any signs of an adverse reaction. The patient can go home under the care of a family member who will need to drive the patient home. Typically, patients resume full activity the next day. Soreness around the injection site may be relieved by using ice and taking a mild analgesic. Complications are rare, but if patients notice any signs of an infection, rash, or fever, we strongly encourage them to come into Southwest Spine and Pain Center.