Many people with osteoarthritis and other degenerative diseases, including posttraumatic pain and rheumatoid arthritis, suffer from chronic hip pain. Conservative treatment approaches such as physical therapy and analgesia may result in significant cost or adverse effects while providing only short-term improvement, and minimally invasive techniques have been found to be ineffective or of temporary benefit.
Although total hip arthroplasty (THA) is often performed in patients with advanced disease, the procedure is associated with a 5% to 15% failure rate, high cost, and increased morbidity, mortality, and persistent postoperative pain. In addition, the life expectancy of hip implants ranges from 10 to 25 years.
There has recently been renewed interest in radiofrequency (RF) procedures for joint pain resulting from degenerative conditions.
Clinical studies have shown that RF treatment is more effective than conservative methods in reducing hip pain. It works by interrupting the sensory input from the femoral and obturator nerves that innervate the hip joint.
The most common indication for RF was osteoarthritis, and other diagnoses included vascular necrosis and persistent pain after THA. Participants had moderate to severe hip pain and limited ambulation, and previously demonstrated a lack of response to oral analgesics and other conservative approaches.
Hip pain is a common condition that is often seen in elderly patients with multiple comorbidities. Often, pain medications are ineffective or have too many side effects, and injections only provide little or temporary pain relief. In addition, surgery may not be an option because of unwillingness of the patient or an especially high risk for complications related to comorbidities. RF treatment may be a reasonable alternative in these circumstances, as well as in situations involving long wait times for THA or persistent pain after THA.
For more information on RFA, contact Comprehensive Pain Management in Warwick, RI.