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Turning off arthritis pain with radio energy
July 30, 2017, 4:13 pm

Arthritis specialists at the Rush University Medical Center in the US have developed a noninvasive treatment for knee arthritis that uses cooled radio energy to target and interrupt pain signals caused by arthritis. Called ‘Coolief’ the procedure can provide several months of relief from chronic arthritis pain for patients for whom surgery is not an option. It also decreases the need for a daily regimen of prescription medication and other over-the-counter pain-relieving drugs.

Pain medicine physicians have for many years now treated several types of chronic pain with radiofrequency (RF) ablation technology, which uses the heat from radio wave energy to temporarily neutralize specific nerves that cause chronic pain. The innovative Coolief RF technology now combines cold and heat energy to extend the pain-free period much longer.

During the Coolief procedure, minimally invasive needles and water-cooled electrodes inserted into the knee target three nerves responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. RF energy passes through the needle and ablates (heats) nerve tissue, greatly reducing those nerves' ability to send pain signals to the brain for extended periods of time.

By also cooling the targeted area with the water-cooled electrodes, the Coolief procedure creates a treatment area that is larger than what occurs via conventional, heat-only RF treatments. That larger treatment area in turn extends the time the nerves need to resume sending pain signals.

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