Background and objective Although total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is an effective treatment for severe knee osteoarthritis (OA), a subset of patients experience significant postoperative pain and dissatisfaction. Several clinical trials support the analgesic benefits of genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation (GN-RFA) for non-operative knee OA, but only one prior trial has examined the effects of this intervention given preoperatively on postoperative outcomes following TKA, showing no analgesic benefit of cooled GN-RFA. The current study evaluated whether conventional thermal GN-RFA performed preoperatively resulted in significant improvements in pain and function following TKA.
Methods This was a single-center, prospective, randomized, sham-controlled, double-blinded pilot trial in which patients received either conventional GN-RFA (n=30) or sham (n=30) between 2 and 4 weeks prior to their TKA. Baseline measures were obtained preprocedurally on the day of intervention, with follow-up outcomes obtained preoperatively on the day of surgery, and at 2 and 6 weeks postoperatively.
Results Patients receiving GN-RFA showed no significant improvements relative to sham controls in the primary outcome, pain intensity at rest at 6-week follow-up. Secondary outcomes, including pain with ambulation and physical function, also showed no significant differences between groups at any follow-up assessment.
Conclusions Conventional GN-RFA of the superior lateral, superior medial, and inferior medial genicular nerves when performed prior to TKA did not provide clinically significant pain relief or improvement in functional status at 2 or 6 weeks postoperatively.
Trial registration number NCT02947321.
- pain management
- chronic pain
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request. All deidentified participant data are in a REDCap database.
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