DG Journal Club
BACKGROUND The clinical utility of radiofrequency (RF) in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) remains unclear. We conducted a meta-analysis to systematically evaluate the efficacy and safety of RF treatment in patients with knee OA.
METHODS Searches of the PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE, Cochrane Library, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and Wanfang Data databases were performed through August 30, 2021. The major outcomes from published randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving patients with knee OA were compared between RF and control groups, including Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) or Numerical Rating Scale (NRS) scores, the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), Oxford Knee Score (OKS), Global Perceived Effect (GPE) scale, and adverse effects at available follow-up times.
RESULTS Fifteen RCTs involving 1009 patients were included in this meta-analysis, and the results demonstrated that RF treatment correlated with improvements in pain relief (VAS/NRS score, all P < 0.001) and knee function (WOMAC, all P < 0.001) at 1-2, 4, 12, and 24 weeks after treatment as well as patients’ degree of satisfaction with treatment effectiveness (GPE scale, 12 weeks, P < 0.001). OKSs did not differ significantly between the two groups. Moreover, treatment with RF did not significantly increase adverse effects. Subgroup analysis of knee pain indicated that the efficacy of RF treatment targeting the genicular nerve was significantly better than intra-articular RF at 12 weeks after treatment (P = 0.03).
CONCLUSIONS This meta-analysis showed that RF is an efficacious and safe treatment for relieving knee pain and improving knee function in patients with knee OA.