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Published on September 11, 2017

Relieve hip and knee pain with radiofrequency ablation

Gundersen Health System has expanded treatment opportunities for patients with hip and knee discomfort to include radiofrequency ablation.

Cary Effertz, MD

Cary Effertz, MD

"Hip and knee pain is a really common problem, and radiofrequency ablation gives us one more tool to use to address that pain for patients, outside of steroid-based injections or surgical interventions," says Cary Effertz, MD, Gundersen Health System Pain Management.

The outpatient injection treatment generally takes about an hour, with the actual procedure lasting less than 30 minutes. During the treatment, X-rays are used to locate the affecting nerves. An expert in pain management then numbs the area and deactivates the nerve by heating it with radio waves. The process prevents pain signals from being sent to the brain, thus reducing discomfort.

Long-term relief generally lasts between six and 18 months, beginning anywhere from several days to two weeks after the procedure. All candidates for radiofrequency ablation undergo one or two diagnostic tests to ensure that they will respond to the treatment.

Candidates for radiofrequency ablation include your patients who have advanced arthritis in their hips or knees or have pain that is unresponsive to injections or therapies. Your patients who have had a hip or knee replacement but still suffer from pain also are candidates, as are people who may not be eligible for surgery due to health or other conditions.

In addition to radiofrequency ablation, Gundersen offers a variety of injections for pain management:

  • Ultrasound-guided injections to safely and accurately deliver pain-relieving medication to precise targets.
  • Nerve blocks to mitigate acute or chronic pain by blocking pain signals from reaching the brain.
  • Lumbar epidural steroid injections and facet joint injections to lessen back and neck pain.
  • Cervical epidural steroid injections to decrease shoulder, upper back and arm pain.
  • Large joint injections to reduce pain caused by inflammation in the large joints of a patient's body.
  • Occipital injections to reduce inflammation around nerves on the back of the head, diminishing pain and other symptoms caused by the swelling.
  • Cryoablation to freeze nerve endings that send pain signals to the brain and prevent discomfort for up to a year, until the nerve endings rejuvenate.

If you have a patient who may benefit from a consultation with Pain Management, contact Gundersen via MedLink at (800) 336-5465 (in La Crosse (608) 775-5465).

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