Radiofrequency Ablation to treat Osteoarthritis of the knee
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of knee pain. The pain signal is carried from the knee to the brain/central nervous system via the genicular nerves of the knee. Radiofrequency ablation is when heat is applied to these nerves.
What is the purpose of Radiofrequency Ablation of the Genicular Nerves of the Knee?
Radiofrequency Ablation of the Genicular Nerves of the Knee interrupts the nerves ability to carry the pain signal to the brain. The effects last until the nerve regrows which can be anywhere from 6 months to 2 years.
How is Radiofrequency Ablation of the Genicular Nerves of the Knee performed?
This procedure is completed in the operating theatre. You will be given medication to make you drowsy (not a general anaesthetic). Three special needles are placed into position along the pathway of the nerve. Two needles are placed above the knee and one below. The placement of these needles is guided by x-ray. Testing occurs to confirm the needles are close to the nerve and then the area is numbed using local anaesthetic. The needles are then used to heat up the nerve preventing it from passing the pain signal.
What happens after the procedure?
Your usual pain will improve almost immediately but there will be some discomfort where the nerves have been heated. This can last for a few weeks and can be reduced with cold packs and simple medications such as Panadol.
Will I damage my knee more if I can’t feel the joint?
The pain signals from the joint in persistent pain no longer have a helpful role and reducing these signals will not alter the Osteoarthritis in the joint.
In the case of numbness, which has not gone away after 24 hours, or any loss of control over bladder or bowel, you should contact Pain Matrix, or attend an Emergency Department and ask that they contact us if it is after hours.
Please make sure you have made follow-up arrangements with your Pain Specialist (either by phone or an in-person appointment)