St. Catherine Hospital has introduced a new therapeutic treatment of chronic knee pain in Croatia by a method of radiofrequency ablation of genicular nerves, as they play a key role in the innervation of the knee joint capsule. Under the mentorship of Professor Leonard Kapural, M.D., Ph.D., the leading US expert in the treatment of pain at the Wake Forest University, our specialists have conducted the procedure of radiofrequency denervation of the genicular nerves for the first time in Croatia.
This procedure requires the use of special needle electrodes through which radiofrequency currents damage the nerve endings responsible for the onset of pain. Professor Kapural is the author of this therapeutic method, and he has just published the results of his research in the journal Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. In this study, which was performed in 11 clinical centers, the group of patients with osteoarthritis had an extremely effective therapeutic effect. The results of the study show that after the treatment with radiofrequent currents in 75% of patients with chronic knee pain the intensity of pain is significantly reduced. The radiofrequent ablation of genicular nerves method with the aim of denervation had a major breakthrough after Professor Michael Gofeld published detailed maps of the spatial distribution of branches of the genicular nerves responsible for knee innervation. In other words, the nerves that innervate the joint capsule and transmit the pain signals, such as in chronic osteoarthritis and other diseases, after denervation largely lose their ability to transmit pain signals and significantly improve the patient's condition. The best effects are achieved in the treatment of painful knee conditions which are a consequence of osteoarthritis and in patients who, after total knee joint replacement, have persistent knee pain. It is important to note that after many thousands of radiofrequent ablation procedures performed on knee nerves, there are still no serious complications noted so far.