COOLIEF Cooled Radiofrequency (RF) is a minimally invasive, non-surgical and non-medication treatment for arthritis which targets and desensitises the pain signals from the knee or hip.

How does the procedure work:


Several small electrode probes are placed around your knee or hip joint. These are placed at specific locations to target individual pain nerves. For example, at the knee these target the medial (inside) and lateral (outside) genicular (knee joint) nerves.
These electrodes are then connected to a generator which transmits a radio-frequency signal to the respective nerve. A cooled water current disperses the field of the radiofrequency signal .
The effect of the radiofrequency signal is to decrease the transmission of pain signals through those nerves and thereby to desensitise the joint and reduce the perception of pain.

Is there scientific research support for this procedure?

Yes. Several recent research studies have compared RF treatment to intra-articular steroid injections and found RF to be more effective. The references are listed at the bottom of this page.

Who are candidates for this procedure?

Mr Freedman feels that the ideal candidates for Coolief RF are (i) Patients who have joint pain but only have mild arthritis and so may not be ready for joint replacement surgery or (ii)  Patients who ordinarily may may have wanted joint replacement but are higher risk and who may therefore want to try other options to avoid surgery. For example, patients  are elderly, frail or who have medical comorbidities and that may elevate risk of complications from total joint replacement surgery (e.g. obesity, poorly controlled diabetes, smokers etc).

Coolief RF does not restore cartilage wear and tear. It is simply a new method to decrease pain signals from an arthritic joint. Total joint replacement (in appropriate candidates) will provide longer lasting symptom relief.

How long will the effects of the treatment last?

Studies have shown significantly improvement in physical function and quality of life for OA knee patients for up to 12 months. Some patients may achieve longer duration of symptom relief, and in other patients the results may not last as long. If you achieve a good response, it could be feasibl to repeat the procedure in the future.


If you wish to discuss whether you may be a candidate for this procedure please contact our office on (03) 9532 3333.



  • Genicular Nerve Radiofrequency Ablation for Painful Knee Arthritis: The Why and the How. Kidd VD, Strum SR, Strum DS, Shah J. JBJS Essent Surg Tech. 2019 Mar 13;9(1):e10
  • Cooled radiofrequency ablation of the genicular nerves for chronic pain due to osteoarthritis of the knee: a cost-effectiveness analysis based on trial data.,Desai M, Bentley A, Keck WA, Haag T, Taylor RS, Dakin H.  BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2019 Jun 26;20(1):302.
  • Severity of Knee Osteoarthritis and Pain Relief After Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation of the Genicular Nerves. House LM, Korn MA, Garg A, Jung MJ, Kendall MC, Walega DR, McCormick ZL. Pain Med. 2019 May 2.
  • Twelve-month analgesia and rescue, by cooled radiofrequency ablation treatment of osteoarthritic knee pain: results from a prospective, multicenter, randomized, cross-over trial. Davis T, Loudermilk E, DePalma M, Hunter C, Lindley DA, Patel N, Choi D, Soloman M, Gupta A, Desai M, Cook E, Kapural L. Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2019 Feb 16
  • Cooled Radio Frequency Ablation for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis-Related Knee Pain: Evidence, Indications, and Outcomes.Oladeji LO, Cook JL.  J Knee Surg. 2019 Jan;32(1):65-71.



Disclaimer: All procedures may carry risk and should be discussed carefully.  We encourage patients to seek a second opinion before deciding on treatment options