The sacroiliac joint (SIJ) is formed where the pelvic bones join to the base of spine, or sacrum. This joint can be a source of pain like any other joint, and it may cause hip, low-back or buttock pain. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction may also be associated with radiation of pain into the groin and/or back of the thigh. Your physician may recommend one of the following:
- Sacroiliac Joint Injection: x-ray guidance is used to insert a thin needle into one or both SI joints and steroid and local anesthetic are carefully injected.
- Lateral Branch Block/Radiofrequency: an alternate method of treating SI joint pain is to target the nerves which provide pain sensation from the joint. These nerves are called the lateral branches. X-ray is used to precisely place steroid and local anesthetic onto these nerves to relieve pain. Radiofrequency can be used in cases where nerve blocks are successful but the duration of pain relief is too short. Radiofrequency can provide pain relief for up to 12 months.
How long does an SIJ injection take?
SIJ injections usually take up to 10 to 15 minutes when both sides are injected.
Is Radiofrequency Ablation permanent?
Radiofrequency ablation does not permanently destroy (or “burn”) the lateral branch nerves. The nerves will slowly regenerate over time, which is why RFA may be repeated.
How will I feel afterwards?
You will likely feel a quick relief after a SIJ injection due to injection of local anesthetic into the joint. The full effect of the steroid is usually experienced within 48-96 hours.
How long will the relief last?
Relief after injections usually lasts up to 2 months, while relief from lateral branch RFA can last up to one year.