‘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 699 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the orthopedic industry. Recognized by MedReps.com as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager and Distributor. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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