Mr Freedman - Orthopaedic Surgeon
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COOLIEF Cooled Radiofrequency (RF) is a minimally invasive, non-medicinal 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 ensures that the probes are kept cool. The effect of the radiofrequency signal is to decrease the transmission of pain signals through those nerves and thereby to 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.
Who are candidates for this procedure?
Mr Freedman feels that the ideal candidates for Coolief RF are (i) Patients who are too frail or who have many medical comorbidities and so would have elevated risk of complications from total joint replacement surgery or (ii) Patients who old have mild arthritis and so are not yet good candidates for joint replacement. Coolief RF is not a treatment for 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 would be possible 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.