Prospective, Multicenter, Randomized, Crossover Clinical Trial Comparing the Safety and Effectiveness of Cooled Radiofrequency Ablation With Corticosteroid Injection in the Management of Knee Pain From Osteoarthritis

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Background and ObjectivesOsteoarthritis (OA) of the knee affects the aging population and has an associated influence on the health care system. Rigorous studies evaluating radiofrequency ablation for OA-related knee pain are lacking. This study compared long-term clinical safety and effectiveness of cooled radiofrequency ablation (CRFA) with intra-articular steroid (IAS) injection in managing OA-related knee pain.MethodsThis is a prospective, multicenter, randomized trial with 151 subjects with chronic (≥6 months) knee pain that was unresponsive to conservative modalities. Knee pain (Numeric Rating Scale [NRS]), Oxford Knee Score, overall treatment effect (Global Perceived Effect), analgesic drug use, and adverse events were compared between CRFA and IAS cohorts at 1, 3, and 6 months after intervention.ResultsThere were no differences in demographics between study groups. At 6 months, the CRFA group had more favorable outcomes in NRS: pain reduction 50% or greater: 74.1% versus 16.2%, P < 0.0001 (25.9% and 83.8% of these study cohorts, respectively, were nonresponders). Mean NRS score reduction was 4.9 ± 2.4 versus 1.3 ± 2.2, P < 0.0001; mean Oxford Knee Score was 35.7 ± 8.8 vs 22.4 ± 8.5, P < 0.0001; mean improved Global Perceived Effect was 91.4% vs 23.9%, P < 0.0001; and mean change in nonopioid medication use was CRFA > IAS (P = 0.02). There were no procedure-related serious adverse events.ConclusionsThis study demonstrates that CRFA is an effective long-term therapeutic option for managing pain and improving physical function and quality of life for patients with painful knee OA when compared with IAS injection.Clinical Trial Registration: (NCT02343003).

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