COOLIEF, also known as cooled radiofrequency is a minimally invasive, outpatient treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to heat the nerves and tissue to treat pain. Cooled radiofrequency can be used to treat the back, neck, sacroiliac joint in the spine as well as the hips and knees.
Preparing for the Procedure
On the day of your procedure, do not eat within six hours before your scheduled appointment; however, you may have water or other clear liquids until two hours before the procedure, as authorized by your physician. Also, make sure you make plans to have someone drive you home.
Although the procedure itself only takes about an hour, you will need to allow several hours total for your appointment. This time includes registration, physician consultation and examination, the procedure and recovery time. You cannot drive yourself home after the procedure, so make arrangements for a friend or family member to help you.
Note: If you take any type of blood-thinning or diabetic medication, it’s important that you notify us before your procedure and we will give you instructions about what you need to do.
What Happens During the Procedure?
Your physician will numb the affected area, and then insert a thin probe into the area near the irritated nerves. Next, he or she delivers radiofrequency energy through the probe into the area. This heats the affected nerves and destroys them, while simultaneously circulating water through the area to cool it. This combination of heating and cooling targets the pain-causing nerves without excessive heating that often occurs with traditional radiofrequency techniques.
What Happens After the Procedure?
You will go to a recovery room, and after your anesthesia wears off you can go home. You may notice some swelling and bruising at the site, and you may feel some discomfort there for one to two weeks. Over-the-counter medications and icing the area can help reduce any discomfort. Your physician will recommend rest based on your unique needs.
What Are the Outcomes of the Procedure?
You should begin to feel pain relief after one to two weeks. In some patients, the relief can be significant and last for about a year. In others, additional COOLIEF treatments may be needed.