Crestwood offering new non-surgical procedure for knee pain - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Crestwood offering new non-surgical procedure for knee pain

Crestwood Medical Center (Source: WAFF) Crestwood Medical Center (Source: WAFF)

When it comes to dealing with pain, many baby boomers are looking for alternatives to major surgery. Now there's a viable procedure for debilitating knee pain even after major surgery.

Shirley Pryor says she was in constant pain for two years before she met a physician at Crestwood Medical Center. There was no sudden injury, but osteoarthritis had taken its toll, not allowing Pryor to work or enjoy her grandchildren.

Pryor's knee problem was not from injury, but from degenerative joint disease, and she'd already had knee replacement surgery.

"To be real honest with you, life was miserable because I was just constantly in pain. And I been living in this house since '77 and raised up eight kids there, and it got so bad that I couldn't really go up the steps," Pryor said.

She went to Crestwood for cooled radio frequency ablation treatment.

Dr. Kristina Janssen Donovan, a physiatrist, said they typically inject three areas around the knee to the sensory nerves in the knee. When the surgeon does this procedure, it's done with the help of an x-ray, and the surgeon can tell precisely where that needle is going.

"We'll inject a local anesthetic or numbing medicine around those sensory nerves, and if the patient receives significant pain relief, even short-term relief, that is diagnostic that that procedure would work for that patient," Donovan said.

She said they then go for a long-term solution.

"The difference with this is that we actually change the temperature to that needle to approximately 60 degrees, and what that does is heat the area around the nerve. Now this is cooler than the traditional radio frequency ablation," she said.

Donovan said some studies have shown pain relief for up to two years.

She said the procedure normally takes about 30 minutes. Recovery is about one to two days. It could take up to two weeks to see the full benefits.

"It's a miracle that I'm not in pain," said Pryor.

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