Radiofrequency Ablation of SI Joint

What You Need to Know

Sacroiliac joint disease causes 15 to 30 percent of low back pain. Sacroiliac joint disease is diagnosed with sacroiliac joint steroid injections. When sacroiliac joint injections provide relief, patients may decide to undergo radiofrequency ablation for the sacroiliac joint to disable pain signals for 6-12 months.

What to expect

Live X-rays will be utilized by your physician to guide the radiofrequency ablation needles next to the nerves that supply the sacroiliac joint. Once motor and sensory tests confirm that the needles are next to the nerve, the nerves will be numbed and the radiofrequency ablation will begin. Patients may feel pressure in the back during testing and ablation. After the procedure, patients will receive medication to calm down the ablated nerves. Pain relief will begin within two weeks and can last up to a year.

Recovery

This is a same day surgical procedure. After the procedure patients may experience discomfort at the needle sites. They may also experience nerve irritation. This can usually be prevented by injecting numbing medication and steroids after the ablation to prevent irritation.