Objective: To determine the incidence of neuropathic pain after cooled radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the sacral lateral branches for the treatment of chronic posterior sacroiliac joint complex pain. Design: Retrospective chart review of all patients with chronic posterior sacroiliac joint complex pain who underwent cooled RFA of the sacral lateral branches in our practice between July 2011 and February 2014. Setting: Single academic pain practice at a tertiary care medical center. Subjects: Thirty-six patients with chronic posterior sacroiliac joint complex pain. Methods: All charts were reviewed to determine the procedure date, unilateral or bilateral, number of levels treated, and number of individual lesions. Side effects were assessed for their presence or absence, character, intensity, duration, and whether treatment was initiated or symptoms resolved spontaneously. Results: Forty-eight separate procedures were performed, with a total of 193 levels and 430 lesions. Three patients had transient postprocedure neuropathic pain yielding a 0.7% (95% confidence interval [CI]±0.4%) rate of this complication per lesion. This proportion increases to 6.2% (95% CI±3.5%) per procedure and to 9.4% (95% CI±5.2%) per patient. Conclusion: The incidence of postprocedural neuropathic pain after cooled RFA for posterior sacroiliac joint complex denervation is low and in a similar range to that in the lumbar spine. We consider this procedure safe to be utilized by pain medicine practitioners.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine