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  • Dr. Lokesh Garg
  • 5 September, 2023
  • Medical


Osteoarthritis (OA) of knee is a common condition that can significantly impact a patient's quality of life. OA is very painful condition and affecting person physically and emotionally. As an orthopaedic surgeon, I am familiar with the challenges of managing this condition. Now a days, radiofrequency ablation (RFA) has emerged as a promising minimally invasive option for relieving pain in OA knee. Here, you will get to know about the principles of RFA and its application in treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

Understanding Knee Osteoarthritis

Let’s review about knee osteoarthritis, before getting into nuances of RFA. OA is a degenerative joint disease due to the disintegration of cartilage in the knee joint. It leads to pain, swelling, stiffness of joint, and ultimately reduced mobility. Usually treated by medication, physical therapy, injections. If conservative treatment fails then surgical optioni.e., Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is considered.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radio waves to target and ablate specific nerves responsible for transmitting pain signals pathway without damaging the surrounding tissues. RFA has been successfully used in various medical specialties, including pain management of other body organs.

RFA in Knee Osteoarthritis

So, how does RFA apply to knee osteoarthritis? Here are some key points to consider:

  1. Patient Selection: Patient selection is crucial. Candidates for RFA are typically those who have not responded well to conservative treatments like medication and physiotherapyand want to avoid or delay surgery.
  2. Procedure: RFA is typically performed on an outpatient/inpatient basis. It involves the insertion of a specialized needle to the genicular nerves around the knee joint under image guidance. Once the needle is correctly positioned, radiofrequency energy is applied, to ablate the nerves, which disrupts transmission of pain signals.
  3. Pain Relief: Almost all patients have significant pain relief after RFA. The procedure effect is temporary from several months to a year or more, although results may vary among individuals.
  4. Minimal Side Effects: RFA is associated with minimal or no side effects, and the recovery time is relatively short as compared to surgical or physiotherapy.
  5. Potential Repeated Procedures: Keep in mind that effects of RFA are not permanent, the procedure can be repeated if necessary, providing extended relief of pain.


Radiofrequency ablation represents a promising option in the management of knee osteoarthritis, particularly for those who have not found relief from conservative treatments and wish to avoid surgery.Incorporating RFA into your treatment options can contribute to your journey toward improved mobility, reduced pain, and an enhanced quality of life. As the field of orthopaedicscontinues to evolve, embracing innovative approaches like RFA can be a significant step forward in providing the best possible care for patients with knee osteoarthritis.