Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates


Genicular Nerve Block for Knee Pain

Our knees are intricate and complex structures compose of many biological elements that we take for granted during our lifetime. Mobilizing us through our world supporting the weight of our body, our knees work hard from morning well into the night, every single day. Eventually, all the activities will begin to wear on our knee joins, causing pain, developing arthritis and potentially serious damage if ignored. Knee surgery may be an option, but sometimes that may not be a smart choice due to other chronic conditions. Sometimes surgical options may not be a necessity.

Chronic knee pain can take a toll on your daily life. It keeps you from your favorite activities, saps you of your productivity, and diminishes your overall quality of life. A Genicular Nerve Block may be the answer to your pain management for chronic knee pain.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the most common causes of chronic knee pain. This happens when the normal wear-and-tear of again weakens the protective cartilage surrounding your knee. Osteoarthritis is degenerative, which means that without treatment, the osteoarthritis pain grows worse over time.

Genucular Nerve Block

What is a Genicular Nerve Block?

A genicular nerve block is designed to diagnose and treat chronic knee pain. Typically, a genicular nerve block is an injection containing both a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid.

The injection is administered into one or more genicular nerves of the knee. There are three main articular branches of genicular nerves, called the superior medial, superior lateral, and interior medial. The genicular block injection bathes genicular nerve branches in medication, which interrupts the pain signals on their way to your brain.

What Happens During a Genicular Nerve Block Procedure?

We can perform a genicular nerve block and genicular nerve ablation as an outpatient procedure. The injection itself should take only 15-20 minutes. You can leave after your procedure, but you should make arrangements for someone to drive you home.

At your appointment, your doctor will cleanse and numb the injection site. Next, the injection will be administered under fluoroscopic guidance. This is a type of imaging technology that helps the doctor to accurately place the needle tip using x-ray guidance.

How Long Does a Genicular Nerve Block Last?

After your injection, you will feel immediate short-term relief, lasting 8-24 hours. The temporary effects are intentional. Genicular nerve blocks are often used to test the effectiveness of a more intensive treatment, called genicular rhizotomy, also known as radio frequency ablation (RFA)

Diagnostic genicular nerve block (GNB) is a diagnostic procedure with local anesthetic generally conducted before making decisions regarding readiofrequency ablation. Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that can provide pain relief lasting from six months to a year or more.

What Conditions Does a Genicular Nerve Block Treat?

Genicular Nerve blocks can help diagnose and provide relief from the folling conditions:

  • Knee arthritis and serve osteoarthritis
  • Failed total or partial knee raplacement surgery
  • Degenerative joint disease
  • Chronic knee pain in patients with no surgical options

What Are the Risks and Side Effects?

The complication rate for this procedure is very low. Whenever a needle enters the skin, bleeding, infection, or soreness can occur. Some other serious but extremely rare risks include nerve injury.

You may have an allergic reaction to any of the medication used. If you have a known allergy to any medications, especially local anesthetics, notify our staff before the procedure takes place.

You may experience any of the following side effects up to four hours after the procedure:

  • Leg muscle weakness or numbness may occur due to the local anesthetic affecting the nerves that control your legs (this is a temporary effect and it is not paralysis). If you have any leg weakness or numbness, walk only with assistance in order to prevent fails and injury. Your leg strength will return slowly and completely.
  • Dizziness may occur due to a decrease in your block pressure, especially if you are nervous about needles. If this occurs, remain in a seated or lying position. Gradually sit up and then stand after at least 10 minutes of sitting.
  • Mild discomfort at the injection site can occur. This typically lasts for a few hours, but can persist for a couple of days. If this occurs, take anti-inflammatories or pain medication, apply ice to the area the day of the procedure. If it persists, apply moist heat in the day(s) following.

The side effects listed about can be normal. They are not dangerous and will resolve on their own. If , however, you experience any of the following, you should contact your doctor. If he is not readily available, then you should proceed to the closest urgent care center for evaluation:

  • Severe or progressive pain at the injection site(s)
  • Leg weakness that progressively worsens or persists for longer than 8 hours
  • Severe or progressive redness, swelling, or discharge from the injection site(s)
  • Fever, chills, nausea, or vomiting
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