How Cooled Radiofrequency Can Help Osteoarthritis, Back Pain

Cooled RF
Print icon

For people who suffer with chronic knee, hip or back pain, discomfort can affect every aspect of day-to-day living. Going up and down stairs, taking a walk around the block, running errands and even sleeping can be physically painful and emotionally draining.

Maybe you’ve suffered for years with knee, hip or back pain. Painkillers and even cortisone shots don’t bring relief. Perhaps you’re not a good candidate for surgery or choose to avoid it.

There is an effective, minimally-invasive procedure that could be just what you need to regain mobility and quality of life.

Cooled Radiofrequency (RF) is a good alternative for patients suffering with osteoarthritis of the knees or hips, as well as patients with chronic back pain or Lumbar Facet Syndrome, otherwise known as arthritis of the spine.

So how does it work? Cooled RF identifies, targets and disables the nerves associated with pain. The doctor will initially perform a procedure to locate and nerves that are at the core of the pain.

Once the source of the pain is identified, the Cooled RF treatment begins. A small insulated needle is positioned next to the nerves with fluoroscopic X-ray guidance by the interventional pain specialist.

The shaft of this needle is covered with a protective insulation so the electric current only passes through the tip into the surrounding tissues. After a successful test confirms good needle position, a local anesthetic is injected to numb the area. A radio-frequency generator is then used to heat the needle tip for up to 90 seconds, and the targeted nerve is destroyed through cauterization.

The device used during Cooled RF circulates water in the area while targeted nerves are heated with radiofrequency, disrupting and disabling their ability to transmit pain signals to the brain. The accuracy of nerve targeting reduces damage to surrounding tissue. Using water during the procedure broadens the scope of the treatment area without overheating nerves.

Patients experience multiple benefits with Cooled RF. The outpatient procedure, which generally takes less than an hour, is quick and requires no hospital stay. There are no incisions and general anesthesia is not required. Patients experience improved mobility and relief within two weeks. Improved comfort and mobility reduce the need for potentially addictive pain medication.

The treatment can last between six and 12 months, on average. The procedure can be repeated as needed.

While this method does not repair the conditions of the chronic pain, it can restore mobility and comfort to patients who have found little relief with other courses of treatment.

Cooled Radiofrequency is offered at Hartford Hospital Pain Treatment Center in West Hartford and at MidState Medical Center in Meriden. For more information on pain treatment at Hartford HealthCare, click here.


What's New

What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?

It can happen on the soccer field, in a car accident or at work – but after sitting in a dark room, quietly for a few days, the concussion you’ve suffered should heal, right? Not always, according to Stephanie Alessi-LaRosa, associate director of the new Sports Neurology Program in the...

Recent Study Shows Pregnant Woman are More at Risk for Strokes

While picking out baby booties and nursery color schemes, mothers-to-be should also be paying attention to the effects their pregnancy is having on their body, some of which could be life-threatening. Dr. Mark Alberts, physician-in-chief of the Ayer Neuroscience Institute at Hartford HealthCare, reported out of the recent annual meeting...


Cameron Boyce: Explaining ‘Sudden Unexplained Death’

Although a seizure stemming from his epilepsy is believed to have caused the recent death of actor Cameron Boyce, it is an extremely rare side effect of the disease, according to Dr. Gabriel Martz, director of The Epilepsy Center at Ayer Neuroscience Institute. Epileptic seizures – which occur when the...

Migraines? A Local Clinical Trial May Be for You

The Hartford HealthCare Headache Center is currently conducting a research study of a home treatment for migraine using self-administered investigational medical device. The study device is non-invasive and does not require medications intake. Compensation for your time and travel is available. Hartford HealthCare Headache Center medical director Dr. Brian Grosberg is the...

Sports neurology

Why an Athlete Might Now See a Sports Neurologist

What is a sports neurologist? With the dramatic increase in head injuries in football and other sports, this relatively new subspecialty of neurology has become increasingly prominent. Dr. Stephanie Alessi-Larosa is a sports neurologist with the Hartford Healthcare Ayer Neuroscience Institute: Q. Sports neurology is a somewhat new field. Why...

Hartford Hospital Earns Quality Stroke Care Award

Moments matter for patients with stroke, and that means rapid diagnosis and quick delivery of clot-busting medication is critical to reducing post-stroke complications or disability. Hartford Hospital’s demonstrated ability to thrive in those urgent care situations, combined with its comprehensive approach to getting patients on the road to a speedy...