Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of knee pain affecting approximately 15 million people. Many people with knee OA are not surgical candidates due to health, age, or other factors. Cooled radiofrequency ablation (CRFA) is a treatment to deactivate and block the knee’s sensory nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
CRFA is a recent evolution of radiofrequency ablation which has been around for over 40 years and used to treat a variety of medical conditions. There are four treatment sites at the knee where CRFA safely targets and deactivates the pain-transmitting sensory nerves and leaves the other nerves that control movement and strength intact.
Studies have shown effectiveness of CRFA to provide moderate pain relief for patients with arthritis pain that can last 12 months or longer. Considering the ongoing opioid epidemic and our desire to treat pain at the site with safer, non-narcotic options, CRFA provides an effective option for individuals with chronic pain due to arthritis.
CRFA has been shown to improve quality of life and physical function for arthritis sufferers. CRFA is minimally invasive and affords a quick recovery where most patients can expect to feel pain relief within 1-2 weeks and better quality of life much sooner than surgery. Also, no additional pain medication is necessary, nor overnight hospital stay. Additionally, CRFA is performed with needles and involves no incision.
A recent study compared CRFA vs knee corticosteroid injection and found that CRFA provided significantly greater and long-lasting pain relief, better physical function, and higher patient satisfaction than steroid injection.
You may be eligible for CRFA if you have had knee or hip pain due to arthritis for at least 3 months, have tried other treatments without success, and you are not a candidate for or aren’t yet ready for surgery.