Radiofrequency Ablation for Chronic Knee Pain

For many people, chronic knee pain from injury or osteoarthritis has just become a way of life. Especially for those patients who haven’t been able to find pain relief from medications or physical therapy, and those who don’t want to explore surgical options, it might seem like there is no option – until now! Discover relief with Radiofrequency Ablation for Chronic Knee Pain. Texas Pain Care team in Missouri City, Sugar Land, and Houston areas are experts at providing this pain relief option to their family of patients.


Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) uses radio waves to deliver a heat lesion around the genicular nerves. Genicular, meaning “relating to the knee,” nerves allow the knee to feel and move. This complex network of nerves include the superior medial, inferior medial, and superior lateral nerves. Because these nerves are responsible for carrying pain signals from the knee to the brain, If any of these nerves get damaged or irritated, knee pain can result. 

What makes radiofrequency ablation so effective is that by heating or burning the nerves where the pain is felt, pain signals are not able to be transmitted to the brain through those nerves. This provides patients with enough relief to be able to comfortably utilize physical therapy and exercises so that they can hopefully manage their pain on a long-term scale. 


RFA is an attractive option for patients who either aren’t a candidate for knee surgery, want to avoid having surgery, and who haven’t yet found relief from therapy methods and medications. If you suffer from any of the below conditions or have specific goals regarding your pain management options, talk to a Texas Pain Care specialist who is happy to determine if you’re a candidate for radiofrequency ablation: 

The best way to determine if you’re a candidate is to speak with a pain management specialist who will review your medical history, perform a comprehensive exam including X-rays and possible MRI, and review your lifestyle needs and goals. 

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RFA is a minimally invasive outpatient surgery that is most often used to treat osteoarthritis or pain from a knee injury. The doctor will sterilize the knee area and administer a topical anesthetic to numb the injection site, as well as a local anesthetic, which helps the patient to feel comfortable during the procedure. Using fluoroscopic guidance, the provider will insert a needle into the targeted area in the genicular nerves. To determine if the desired location is correct, a microelectrode is inserted through the needle, delivering a mild electrical current. If so, then a numbing agent is applied to the nerve before a heat-generating electrical current is applied, which creates a lesion that blocks the pain signals. 

The entire procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on how many different areas of the knee are targeted. While this is not a major surgery, patients are instructed to relax for the remainder of the day, and avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for the next day or two. It’s normal to feel mild pain around the injection site for several days after the treatment, and it could take two to three weeks to feel complete pain relief. Most patients experience a relatively light and quick recovery period, with pain relief that lasts anywhere from nine months up to two years. Due to the fact that nerves regenerate, it’s possible for patients to receive more than one RFA treatment if pain persists or ge