CentraState is among just a few hospitals in the region to offer this breakthrough procedure
Imagine how it feels to live in agonizing pain every day. That was the heartbreaking reality for Pauline Lukenoff-Bishop, who suffers from severe arthritis in her neck, back, and joints. For decades, the 57-year-old Hazlet resident endured constant, throbbing pain that extended from her head down to her knees.
“I couldn’t stand, sit, or walk for any length of time, making it hard to do anything,” she says. “I couldn’t even pick up a gallon of milk.”
Over the years, Pauline consulted with several physicians and tried everything from epidural injections to physical therapy. Medication was the only treatment that helped, but the relief was temporary and the side effects were nearly as bad as the pain.
Pauline eventually found her way to Maged Ghattas, MD, a specialist in pain management and palliative care on staff at CentraState. Dr. Ghattas recommended a breakthrough therapy that provided new hope.
Targeting Nerves with Precision
CentraState is among a handful of hospitals in the region to offer cooled radiofrequency ablation, an innovative approach for treating pain related to arthritis and other degenerative problems in the spine, knees, and hips.
“The treatment uses radiofrequency energy to target and deaden the nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain,” Dr. Ghattas explains. “While the technique has been around for about 15 years, newer technology allows us to target nerves more precisely without destroying surrounding tissue.”
During the procedure, radiofrequency energy heats and cools the tissue at the pain site. Water circulates through the radiofrequency device while heating nerve tissue to create a larger treatment area. This targets the nerves causing pain more precisely without excessive heating.
Performed at CentraState’s Donna O’Donnell, RN Medical Arts Building, the outpatient therapy is quick, safe, and minimally invasive, allowing pain relief with little discomfort and few side effects. According to Dr. Ghattas, most patients report that 80 to 95 percent of their pain is eliminated after treatment. Relief lasts up to 18 months, and procedures can be repeated as necessary.
“It’s a particularly good treatment option for patients who have been on high doses of medication and are not candidates for surgery,” Dr. Ghattas adds.
Pauline underwent a series of procedures with Dr. Ghattas targeting the nerves in her spine and joints—and has been virtually pain-free since.
“The procedures worked wonders,” she says. “I felt the difference almost immediately. I have no more pain from the arthritis in my neck, back, shoulders, or knees, and it even took care of my migraines.”
Today, instead of lying in bed, Pauline is strolling the boardwalk and rediscovering her favorite hobbies. She’s even paying it forward by volunteering at a local hospice.
“I’m so thankful to Dr. Ghattas and CentraState,” Pauline says. “This treatment totally changed my life.”