Complex Regional Pain Syndrome of the Knee after Conventional Radiofrequency Ablation of the Genicular Nerves Treated Successfully with Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation: A Case Report

Amy Belba, Thibaut Vanneste, Ali Jerjir, Kristof Smeets, Jean-Pierre Van Buyten, Johan Bellemans, Jan Van Zundert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Radiofrequency (RF) treatment of the genicular nerves offers pain relief in patients suffering from chronic knee pain including persistent post-surgical knee pain (PPSP). We present the first case report of the development of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in a chronic knee pain patient after an RF ablation of the genicular nerves that was successfully treated with dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation.

CASE PRESENTATION: The patient developed increased pain, sympathetic and dysmorphic changes of the index knee 10 weeks after RF treatment for PPSP. Diagnosis of CRPS type II was made using positive clinical findings and the Budapest diagnostic tool. Laboratory workup and PET-CT were negative. The patient was refractory to usual care and she was treated successfully with dorsal ganglion root stimulation.

CONCLUSIONS: CRPS is a possible complication of RF ablation of the genicular nerves in patients with chronic knee pain, and DRG stimulation may be a treatment option. Physicians should be aware of this complication, especially when patients have a medical history of CRPS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-546
Number of pages6
JournalPain Practice
Issue number5
Early online date18 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • DRG stimulation
  • chronic knee pain
  • complex regional pain
  • genicular nerves
  • radiofrequency ablation

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