Radiofrequency procedures to relieve chronic knee pain an evidence-based narrative review

Anuj Bhatia, Philip Peng, Steven P. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: Chronic knee pain from osteoarthritis or following arthroplasty is a common problem. A number of publications have reported analgesic success of radiofrequency (RF) procedures on nerves innervating the knee, but interpretation is hampered by lack of clarity regarding indications, clinical protocols, targets, and longevity of benefit from RF procedures. Methods: We reviewed the following medical literature databases for publications on RF procedures on the knee joint for chronic pain: MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and Google Scholar up to August 9, 2015. Data on scores for pain, validated scores for measuring physical disability, and adverse effects measured at any timepoint after 1 month following the interventions were collected, analyzed, and reported in this narrative review. Results: Thirteen publications on ablative or pulsed RF treatments of innervation of the knee joint were identified. A high success rate of these procedures in relieving chronic pain of the knee joint was reported at 1 to 12 months after the procedures, but only 2 of the publications were randomized controlled trials. Therewas evidence for improvement in function and a lack of serious adverse events of RF treatments. Conclusions: Radiofrequency treatments on the knee joint (major or periarticular nerve supply or intra-articular branches) have the potential to reduce pain fromosteoarthritis or persistent postarthroplasty pain.Ongoing concerns regarding the quality, procedural aspects, and monitoring of outcomes in publications on this topic remain. Randomized controlled trials of high methodological quality are required to further elaborate role of these interventions in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)501-510
Number of pages10
JournalRegional anesthesia and pain medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 21 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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