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A nonsurgical way to treat knee osteoarthritis


People with chronic knee pain may seek relief from physical therapy. They may try over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription painkillers or steroid injections.

A doctor at Upstate now offers another choice for people who are unwilling or unable to undergo a surgical knee replacement.

Xiaoli Dong, MD, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, provides a cooled radiofrequency procedure called “Coolief,” a blend of “cool” and “relief.” It has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to relieve chronic moderate to severe knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.

The procedure is accomplished without an incision, “using radiofrequency energy to deactivate the nerves responsible for sending pain signals to our brain,” Dong explains. Patients receive an anesthetic to numb the skin and reduce any discomfort from the needle. They return to normal activities within a week or two. Dong says pain relief may last up to a year.

Chronic knee pain is often the result of osteoarthritis, a degenerative condition that develops as wear and tear thins the cartilage between bones. The result can be pain and stiffness, swelling and difficulty walking.

To learn more, contact Dong‘s office at 315-464-1569; click here to hear Dong explain the procedure in a podcast/radio interview with Upstate's "HealthLink on Air."

Upstate Health magazine cover, winter 2019 issueThis article appears in the winter 2019 issue of Upstate Health magazine.