Genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for knee pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee, and can significantly reduce pain, especially for adults who are 50 and older, according to new research to be presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology Annual Scientific Meeting in Phoenix. This is the first time a study has examined patient demographics, prior surgical history and other clinical characteristics that may predict the level of pain reduction after treatment.
“We know this treatment has clear benefits in reducing pain and improving the ability to do everyday activities for patients,” said Kaitlin Carrato, M.D., chief resident in interventional radiology at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. “But now that we know it’s particularly helpful for those over 50 years old, it may mean that those with chronic pain conditions, like arthritis, would benefit more from this treatment than patients suffering acute pain, such as an injury.”
Interventional radiologists perform genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation by image guidance to place probe needles next to the nerves of the knee that can send pain signals to the brain. The probes generate radio waves, creating a ball of heat to dull or destroy the pain nerve endings. These nerves do not control muscles or affect balance, making the procedure safe. Furthermore, patients leave with Band-Aids, not stitches. The treatment in other studies has been shown to last for approximately six months to up to two years.