Radiofrequency is used to heat nerve tissue to high temperatures. This causes enough damage or injury to the nerve to cut off its signals to the joint. Patients can end up with pain if the thermal injury is incomplete. The nerve continues to send pain messages to the joint.
Injuries to other nerves can occur if the electrode slips. Rarely, infection occurs causing scarring and pressure on healing nerves. There have been some isolated cases of burns. This can happen when the insulation in electrodes breaks.