Genicular Nerve Blocks
What are genicular nerve blocks?
A nerve block is a diagnostic procedure to determine whether the source of chronic knee pain is stemming from arthritis or another pathological condition of the knee. The produce involves is an injection of local anesthetic into the damaged joint in order to temporarily block the nerves carrying pain signals from the knee. This procedure is primarily used as a diagnostic for radiofrequency ablation (RFA) candidacy; patients who respond well to a genicular nerve block often proceed with the genicular RFA, which provides more prolonged pain relief.
Who is a good candidate for nerve blocks?
If you have chronic knee pain that has not been resolved with conservative treatments such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications, you may benefit from nerve block injections. If you have been previously diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, you may also benefit from nerve blocks.
How is it done?
During a nerve block injection, the physician will inject some local anesthetic near the nerves surrounding the knee. The results should be immediate, and if this procedure provides you with even temporary relief, that is a positive indication that the physician has located the source of your pain. The doctor will then work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your condition.
What are the benefits and risks of nerve block injections?
The benefits of the procedure include:
- Minimally-invasive: Nerve block injections are minimally invasive, meaning that there is minimal risk of complications.
- Pain-relief: Nerve blocks can help relieve knee pain, allowing you to get back on your feet and continue your normal activities.
- Quick: A nerve block injection is an in-office procedure that takes around 5-10 minutes on average.
Patients may notice some discomfort, local bruising or minor swelling after the procedure, but this should pass in a few days. Any numbness immediately after the procedure is due to the anesthesia and should pass within a few hours.