Studies have shown that cooled radiofrequency treatment can provide chronic back pain patients up to 24 months of pain relief, improved physical function and reduced use of pain medicines. - Halyard Health

For one woman, three failed knee replacement surgeries left her in chronic pain. Just when she thought she would never enjoy a walk or playing with her grandchildren again, she got relief through COOLIEF. - WNDU Channel 16

The COOLIEF procedure, clinically known as a cooled radiofrequency neurotomy or radiofrequency ablation, treats chronic pain by deactivating the nerves causing your pain.

A radiofrequency neurotomy treats joint pain by using a blast of heat to short-circuit nerves and shut down pain signal communication. It’s similar to when your power goes out and you can’t connect to the Internet.

What is COOLIEF, and does it work?

COOLIEF is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure, often compared to steroid injections. However, patients report better pain relief, functionality, and satisfaction after COOLIEF compared to injections.

Six months post-procedure, only 5% of the COOLIEF group reported the same pain severity level versus 37% of patients treated with steroid injections. - FDA study

While many patients experience up to 24 months of pain relief, some patients have no recurring pain at all.

This procedure has been approved as a treatment for:

COOLIEF does not involve incisions or cutting. There is no risk of addiction with COOLIEF.

How Does COOLIEF Work?

The COOLIEF procedure is similar to traditional radiofrequency treatments. However, unlike traditional RF procedures, COOLIEF uses cooled radiofrequency energy to more safely target the nerves. It produces less heat overall, which increases pain relief effectiveness.

Before COOLIEF, your doctor will perform a medial branch block. This is a diagnostic procedure that locates the exact source of your pain and tells your doctor where the COOLIEF needs to go.

After this, you’ll come back for the actual treatment. Your doctor will use a device with a small needle to reach the nerves causing pain. This device is a radiofrequency generator that uses energy to heat the nerves.

While the device is sending heat into the nerves, it also circulates water through the area. This does a few things:

  1. Creates a larger treatment area with no additional effort
  2. Targets the source of pain without excessive heating

It takes less than an hour total, and does not require general anesthesia. Most patients can begin returning to their normal activities the day after, though pain can linger 1-2 weeks.

Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure a full recovery.

Potential Side Effects of COOLIEF

While COOLIEF is generally a safe, quick, and convenient procedure, it can have side effects like any medical procedure. It’s smart to be fully aware of the risks as well as the benefits before undergoing any procedure.

For more information about side effects, consult your doctor and review the COOLIEF patient guide.


The most common side effect is a transient sunburn-type pain at the treatment site. This is a superficial burning pain, like a sunburn, that occurs for 3-5% of patients. The pain is not severe, but it can be troublesome and last for several weeks.

For 2-3 weeks following the procedure, you may experience the following temporary side effects:


Is COOLIEF right for you?

COOLIEF is often suggested for patients who don’t want or need surgery due to BMI, age, co-morbidities, and other circumstances.

If you’re interested in COOLIEF, consult your doctor to make sure this procedure is compatible with your medical conditions and history.

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