low dose radiotherapy for osteoarthritis of the knee

Dr. Jason Beckta on the use of LDRT for knee osteoarthritis

Dr. Jason Beckta, a radiation oncology specialist and Medical Director of Radiation Medicine at Rutland Regional Medical Center, is a strong advocate for the use of low dose radiotherapy (LDRT) for the treatment of benign conditions.

Dr. Beckta recently recorded a webinar on the use of LDRT for knee osteoarthritis on Tuesday, May 30th 2023 as part of IORBC’s webinar series which you can watch using the link below on this page.

Below – six of his key takeaways shared during the webinar.

  1. Treating benign conditions with low-dose radiotherapy is a departure from oncology – and that can be disconcerting to clinicians.
    Dr Beckta believes it is crucial that clinicians embrace this discomfort, because low dose radiotherapy can offer patients significant benefits.

  2. The risk of secondary malignancy is lower than most might think.

    With a total radiotherapy dose of 6 Gy to an extremity, he shared that he has not found any evidence of secondary malignancy to date, and published literature shows approximately 0.02 – 0.1% lifetime risk of skin basal cell carcinoma.

  3. The treatment is highly practical.

    Patients lay supine with a knee pad/cradle, feet bands and receive 3 Gy over six fractions every other day at 0.5 Gy per day using a planning target volume (PTV) that covers the whole joint capsule.

    Using this approach, the total dosage is only 3 Gy (compared with e.g. 60Gy for radical cancer treatment) and Dr. Beckta often treats bilateral knees simultaneously, scheduling follow-ups at 8-12 weeks, with a tentative plan for a second course.

  4. Side effects are very minimal.

    Mild dermatitis is the most common, usually during winter. Many patients actually report positive side effects, such as one who saw a post-treatment reduction in muscle soreness due to an increased range of motion.

  5. There’s no evidence of increased risk of complications for future surgery.

  6. Medical insurance will reimburse LDRT treatment, when billed appropriately.

His conclusions? It’s unfamiliar terrain to venture outside of oncology, but the results are promising. Low dose radiotherapy for knee osteoarthritis is a valuable tool, providing patients with a non-invasive, effective solution that can improve their quality of life.

Watch: Dr. Beckta’s webinar on LDRT for knee osteoarthritis