‘Cool’ New Knee Procedure Eases Arthritis Pain Without Surgery

A new, non-invasive knee procedure could bring some relief for patients suffering from debilitating chronic pain, for whom surgery is not an option.

The treatment, recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration, is called “cooled radio frequency ablation” and is a less drastic option for people with moderate to severe osteoarthritis pain who are not ready to have knee replacement surgery, or who have health conditions that don’t make them a good candidate for surgery.

Marketed as “Coolief”, the procedure uses radio frequency to target and mute the nerves responsible for sending pain signals from the arthritic knee to the brain. Coolief doesn’t repair arthritis in the knee, but eases the pain, helping patients go back to activities without discomfort and fewer medications.

“What we’re changing is the wiring of the knee — so we’re taking away the pain signal and interrupting it,” Dr. Amin Sandeep, a pain specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago who performs the procedure, told NBC News.

One 2016 study compared Coolief to popular cortisone injections, with patients reporting greater, longer-lasting pain relief with the new treatment than injections. Coolief reduces pain for about to 6 to 12 months, depending on how fast the nerves in the knee regenerate.

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint when the cartilage wears off over time, often striking big joints like the knee, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, nearly 10 million Americans had osteoarthritis of the knee in 2010.

By Lauren Dunn and Felix Gussone, MD | NBC News

Image Credit: Flickr

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About Peter Coffaro 1149 Articles

A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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