There is a small percentage of patients who continue to have pain after having Total Knee Arthroplasty(TKA), i.e. a total knee replacement. While pre-operative screening is recommended to ensure the best outcomes for patients recovering from this procedure, between 8-23% will continue to have pain that lasts longer than the expected recovery period. This can be a result of chronic signaling or changes to the nerves which have been “rewired” to transmit pain messages more effectively. When this happens, the pain is considered chronic and requires that these messages be interrupted in order to provide patients with relief.
One option for Total Knee Pain is pulsed radiofrequency. How does PRF work? Electromagnetic waves are delivered to the nerve that change the pain signaling patterns to the brain (see this great video in a previous blog post about how neuropathic pain signals are transferred). Imagine it as a kind of reset button for the nerve that has been carrying too many pain messages. Once the targeted nerve has been stimulated with the electrode it is reconditioned to its pre-pain state. Because pulsed radiofrequency is applied in very short bursts, there is no long-term damage done to the nerve. The treatment takes minutes to perform and the patient is able to resume her normal activities in just a few hours.