Published on September 26, 2017

New Procedure Offers Falkner Man Relief from Knee Pain

TUPELO, Miss.— Michael McMillin is walking tall these days, thanks to a new treatment available for knee pain.

After years of being obese, McMillin’s knees were suffering the consequences of carrying around so much extra weight. He lost 150 pounds before he was eligible to have total knee replacement surgery on both knees. “Before surgery, it was bone on bone,” said the 55-year-old from Falkner. “It did get better, but then I started having pain again in my right knee.”

McMillin said going up steps or an incline were particularly bothersome, as was standing for long periods of time. After tolerating the pain for five or six months, he sought help from Kevin Silver, D.O., a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician with North Mississippi Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who is board certified in pain management.

Dr. Silver told McMillin about the first and only radiofrequency treatment to be cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration specifically for the relief of moderate to severe knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.

COOLIEF Cooled Radiofrequency Treatment was FDA cleared for knee pain in April based on results from a 151-patient prospective, randomized multi-center study comparing COOLIEF to intraarticular steroid injections in patients suffering from knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. The study found that at six months COOLIEF provided significantly greater and longer-lasting pain relief, improved physical function and higher patient satisfaction than the steroid injections.

“This technology is clinically proven to provide up to 18 months of pain relief, improved function and reduced need for medication,” Dr. Silver explained. “It can be a game-changer for people with debilitating arthritis. It’s not getting rid of the arthritis, but it can reduce the pain.”

McMillin was willing to give COOLIEF a try. Before the actual procedure, Dr. Silver does what he calls a test shot to see if the procedure will help the patient. “We numb the skin then do a test to see if it offers short-term relief,” he said. “We ask our patients to do things during the test period that typically bother their knee and rate their pain while doing those activities. If they got relief from the test, we schedule the procedure. If it still hurts, then we can surmise that the procedure won’t help.”

The test shot worked for McMillin, so he was scheduled for the procedure. First, local anesthesia is applied to the skin. Then Dr. Silver inserts specialized needles that emit radiofrequency energy, which burns the nerves responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. By delivering radiofrequency energy through water-cooled electrodes, more radiofrequency energy can be safely transmitted to create larger volume, spherically-shaped treatment areas that provide physicians the ability to use the best approach angle when treating nerves, especially those located within complex nerve courses that can be difficult to reach.

“The procedure didn’t take long at all,” McMillin said. “I had relief immediately.” He left Longtown Medical Park with a small adhesive bandage where the probe was inserted along with instructions to ice their knee and take it easy for the rest of the day. He was able to return to normal activities right away. A month later, he still reports no knee pain.

“Now I can play with my 6-year-old grandson,” he said. “I can take him fishing.”

McMillin is one of many individuals who have already had a total knee replacement yet continued to have pain. “Until now there have been few options available for these patients,” Dr. Silver said.

For more information, visit www.myCOOLIEF.com or call North Mississippi Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at (662) 377-6610 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375). No referral is necessary.

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