Expert Health Articles

Radiofrequency Ablation: A new option for hip and knee pain

Thomas Kindl, MD

Pain Management Specialists of Blanchard Valley

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a common interventional procedure, typically performed on the nerves in your spine. For many people, this procedure can postpone the need for hip and knee replacement.

RFA is a minimally invasive outpatient surgery and is typically used for pain from osteoarthritis or an old injury. A physician will use x-ray guidance to direct a special needle with a gentle electric current to “ablate” or burn off the nerves causing the pain. Nerves typically regenerate after about six months. This procedure provides control over pain long enough for rehabilitation.

Over the past few years, pain management specialists have begun performing a modified version of this procedure on other joints like hips and knees. An RFA on a knee or hip can be an option for someone who

  • Is not a candidate for joint replacement
  • Doesn’t want to have a complicated surgery
  • Is young and worried their artificial joint will wear out and they will eventually need another replacement
  • Is older and doesn’t want to go through extensive recovery and rehabilitation

RFA on hips and knees can be a good option for those with debilitating joint pain because the recovery time is very short – it requires only a mild sedative, there is no incision and you can go to work the next day.

Visit a pain management specialists near you to learn more about this option for joint pain.