Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation for Pain Relief After Total Knee Replacement

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: The procedure is a form of radiofrequency ablation, where doctors use needles to send a low-grade electrical current to nerves that are transmitting pain signals from the arthritic joint to the brain. The current heats and damages the nerve fibers, rendering them unable to deliver those pain messages.  In the United States, a number of ablation devices are cleared for treating low back pain and knee osteoarthritis. 


Radiofrequency ablation electrode is placed into the introducer needle after the placement of the introducer needle



At this point, the procedure is slowly becoming a more established treatment, said Dr. Felix Gonzalez, a radiologist at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. Gonzalez called the results “promising” and said, in his experience, there have been no major complications from the procedure, such as bleeding or infections — though those are potential risks.  And before the ablation is done, Gonzalez explained, patients go through what is basically a trial run. They are given an injection of numbing medication near the nerves believed to be generating the pain signals. If the pain abates, that means targeting the same nerves with ablation will likely work, too — longer term. 






PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Larger scale studies need to be performed to decipher the full applications of this novel technique. 

Any disclosures? I am a consultant for Avanos Medical. 

Citation: RSNA 2021

Utilization of Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation for the Treatment of Uncomplicated Total Knee Arthroplasty Chronic Pain and Stiffness: Initial Single Institution Pilot Study

[Co-authors are Janice M. Newsome, M.D., Nima Kokabi, M.D., Zachary Bercu, M.D., Mircea Cristescu, M.D., M.B.A., Adam Singer, M.D., Philip Wong, M.D., Mohammed Loya, M.D., Fiza Khan, D.O., and Andrew Tran.

Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 
Nov 23, 2021, 05:00 ET

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