A new treatment called cooled radiofrequency ablation, marketed as Coolief®, has been observed to provide patients with knee pain from osteoarthritis with long-lasting relief, and to avoid or forestall knee replacement surgery in some cases. Radiofrequency ablation uses heat to destroy tissue, such as tumors. But the new technique uses cooled water to slow the heating process, thereby allowing the heat to penetrate a larger area of the nerve.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 8 million people age 45 and older had osteoarthritis of the knee in 2010. These triggered about 5.7 million visits to physicians for the condition, the academy reports. Osteoarthritis of the knee can cause pain, swelling and stiffness, limiting sufferers' activities and affecting their quality of life. While no cure is available, treatments typically range from medications and steroid injections to knee replacement surgery. Cooled radiofrequency ablation represents an alternative for cases that are unresponsive to conservative therapies, and for patients who may be poor candidates for knee surgery. Read more about the procedure here.