Health Team

New 'Coolief' treatment can ease pain, delay knee replacement surgery

Posted August 3

Chronic knee pain is a common problem for 30 million Americans with osteoarthritis, but a new procedure may help sufferers avoid pain medications and delay knee replacement surgery.

Janice Farmer has suffered severe knee pain from osteoarthritis for 11 years.

“I had been going and having shots, but the shots never helped,” she said.

Farmer dreaded the long recovery and expense of knee replacement surgery, but the pain kept her off her feet.

She was referred to First Health anesthesiologist and pain specialist Dr. James Winkley, who offered her an outpatient procedure called “Coolief.” The treatment uses radio frequency waves through an insulated needle.

“There are a series of nerves that come down and actually surround the knee in a circle,” Winkley said.

At three key nerve points, Winkley burns a pea-sized lesion.

“And essentially block the pain that’s coming from an arthritic joint or from a joint that’s already been replaced and they’re still having pain,” he said.

Winkley said the procedure is an effective option that can delay knee replacement for many patients.

“We usually get them a couple of extra years before they go on to have a knee replacement, otherwise they just have to keep limping around until the surgeon says they’re ready,” he said.

The results of the treatment got Farmer back on her feet.

“I can run now and I’m 62 years old and I’m running with my grandbabies,” she said.

“Coolief” is the first and only radio frequency treatment approved by the FDA for relieving osteoarthritic knee pain. The procedure can be repeated multiple times if necessary.


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