Total knee replacements can be a very effective way to improve patients with end-stage arthritis. Complications can be severe but are relatively rare and most patients do very well with this approach. While recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s pain and disability, most patients who undergo a total knee replacement average 50-80.
What if you’re not a candidate for knee replacement surgery? What if the level of pain doesn’t warrant surgery –but the level of pain is debilitating your quality of life?
There are quite a few non-operative treatment options for knee pain. These include steroid injections, hyaluronic acid injections, PRP injections, stem cell injections, nerve blocks, and nerve treatments with cryoablation or pulsed radiofrequency ablation.
Steroid Injections: Cortisone shots are injections that may help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of your body. They’re most commonly injected into joints —such as your ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine and wrist.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections: is used to treat knee pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA) in patients who have already been treated with pain relievers (e.g., acetaminophen) and other treatments that did not work well.
PRP Injections: Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles and joints. In this way, PRP injections use each individual patient’s own healing system to improve musculoskeletal problems.
Stem Cell Injections: Stem-cell therapy is the use of stem cells to treat or prevent a disease or condition. Bone marrow is the most widely used stem-cell, but some therapies derived from umbilical cord blood are also in use.
Nerve Blocks: Nerve block or regional nerve blockade is any deliberate interruption of signals traveling along a nerve, often for the purpose of pain relief.
Nerve Treatments, i.e., Cryoablation or Pulsed Radiofrequency Ablation: Cryoablation is a process that uses extreme cold to temporarily disable nerves. Cryoablation is performed using hollow closed-tip needles (cryoprobes) which a special machine makes the needle very cold once it is positioned next to the nerve.
Pulsed radio frequency (PRF) or continuous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) Involves a similar procedure to cryoablation but heats nerves to temporarily disable them, rather than cooling the nerves.
Deciding which of the above to do requires experience. Considerations include prior surgical history, level of arthritis, which other knee structures are involved, where the pain is, where the pain shoots to, what different insurance companies are willing to cover, and other considerations. Acute Pain Therapies has been using all these treatment options for years. If you think you are a candidate for any of these knee pain treatments, contact our office today.