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The Efficacy of Ultrasound-Guided Pulsed Radiofrequency of Genicular Nerves in the Treatment of Chronic Knee Pain Due to Severe Degenerative Disease or Previous Total Knee Arthroplasty

Yusuf Erdem, Ender Sir

(Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Gulhane Training and Research Hospital, Ankara, Turkey)

Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:1857-1863

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.915359


BACKGROUND: Pulsed radiofrequency of genicular nerves in the management of osteoarthritis related chronic knee pain has recently become a promising treatment. Ultrasonography has replaced fluoroscopic guidance in pain medicine. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ultrasound-guided genicular pulsed radiofrequency on knee pain and function in patients who had severe knee osteoarthritis or who had previous knee arthroplasty.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The retrospective study included a total of 23 patients with chronic knee pain, of which 17 patients were included in Group I (non-operated), and 6 patients were included in Group II (post-arthroplasty). Treatment was based on ultrasound-guided pulsed radiofrequency of the superior medial, superior lateral, and inferior medial genicular nerves. The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) scores were assessed before treatment, and at 3 weeks and at 3 months following the procedure.
RESULTS: Pulsed radiofrequency of the genicular nerves significantly reduced perceived pain and disability in the majority of the patients. The proportion of the patients with improvement of ≥50% in pretreatment VAS scores at 3 weeks and 3 months following treatment were 14 out of 17 patients (82%) and 15 out of 17 patients (88%) in Group 1, and 4 out of 6 patients (67%), 4 out of 6 patients (67%) in Group 2, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study results suggest that ultrasound-guided pulsed radiofrequency of genicular nerves is a safe and minimally invasive procedure that significantly alleviates pain and disability in patients with severe degenerative disease or with previous knee arthroplasty.

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