HealthDay News – Results from the first controlled study evaluating the comparative efficacy of radiofrequency (RF) genicular nerve neurotomy to intra-articular injections for chronic knee osteoarthritis suggest that RF neurotomy is well-tolerate and result in similar reductions in pain.  These results were recently published in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Sinem Sari, MD, from Adnan Menderes University in Aydin, Turkey, and colleagues compared the efficacy of intra-articular injection and RF neurotomy of genicular nerves in 73 patients with chronic knee OA pain. Patients were randomized to Group IA (intra-articular 2.5 mL of bupivacaine, 2.5 mg of morphine, and 1 mL of betamethasone) or Group RF (RF neurotomy of the genicular nerves).

The researchers observed no statistically significant differences between the groups in terms of baseline visual analogue scale (VAS) pain. Compared with Group IA, Group RF had significant reductions in VAS pain in the first and third month (P < .001). 

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A significant reduction was seen in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Index of Osteoarthritis total scores in the first month in Group RF versus Group IA (P < .001).

“This treatment modality may be recommended as a beneficial treatment option in inoperable patients with comorbidities or patients unresponsive to conservative treatment,” the authors write.

The study authors did not disclose any potential conflicts of interest. 

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Sarı S, Aydın ON, Turan Y, Özlülerden P, Efe U, Kurt Ömürlü İ. Which one is more effective for the clinical treatment of chronic pain in knee osteoarthritis: radiofrequency neurotomy of the genicular nerves or intra-articular injection? Int J Rheum Dis. 2016 Aug 12 doi: 10.1111/1756-185X.12925 [Epub ahead of print]