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Understanding Knee Pain

Genicular Nerve Block and Radio Frequency Neurotomy of Knee Joint

Genicular Nerve Block and Radio Frequency Neurotomy of Knee Joint : Chronic pain from the knee region is not uncommon among obese, aged people and sportsmen. This pain could be a result of osteoarthritis, which is the wear and tear in the knee as you age.

Some pains originate from previous surgical joint replacement; these kinds of pains are often treated with physical therapy, weight loss program and anti-inflammatory injections such as corticosteroids. Knee pain could also result from injury to the knee from sports or accident.

Genicular Nerves

Genicular refers to nerves that control and send pain signals around the knee region to the brain. Genicular nerve consists of the superior lateral and medial, the inferior lateral and medial, tidal genicular nerves, and other nerve branches.

Genicular Nerve BlockGenicular Nerve Block and Radio Frequency Neurotomy of Knee Joint

This is a nerve block medication given to patients with chronic knee pain.  It is a recommended and widely accepted alternative to knee surgery. This involves blocking nerves with the use of local anesthetics from transmitting pain signals.  The nerve block is done to targeted nerves at different angles, which means more than one injection shot is required.

A shot should be given at the superior medial branch, one at the superior lateral branch and one at the interior medial genicular nerves. A knee block using local anesthetic is targeted outside the joint but with corticosteroid, the joint is targeted.

What are the conditions that can be treated using Genicular Nerve Block?

  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Consistent Knee pains
  • Swelling and stiffness of the knee
  • Medical complications that will not allow a patient to have a knee surgery

Before a Genicular Nerve Block

The physician accesses the medical history and allergies of the patient. It is mandated that the physician also inform you about the procedure and possible complications.

During a Genicular Nerve Block

  1. Patient is made to lie on the operating bed facing up; patient may also sit with the legs straightened on a flat surface.
  2. Patient may be given a mild sedative to relax the nerves.
  3. Using X-ray guidance, a spinal insulated needle is injected into the genicular nerve region.
  4. Medication containing a local anesthetic and steroids is injected into the genicular nerve region.
  5. The needle is removed and a cleaning solution is used to clean the skin to avoid swelling, infection or bleeding.
  6. The patient is allowed to rest for less than an hour to affirm that the procedure was successful. The procedure is successful if the patient experiences reduced pain in the knee region.
  7. If successful, the physician schedules a Radio-Frequency Neurotomy for the patient.

Radio-Frequency Neurotomy

Genicular Nerve Block and Radio Frequency Neurotomy of Knee Joint

This is an advanced and complementing procedure to Genicular Knee Block. It is also known as Radio-Frequency Ablation. The procedure involves creating a heated environment around the genicular nerves, this results in disrupting pain signals from reaching the brain. In a Radio-Frequency Neurotomy, the tip of the needle is heated to around 176F or (60-800C).

Radio-Frequency Neurotomy has also proven to relieve back and neck pains. RF Neurotomy is preceded by a Genicular Nerve Block, if GNB does not successfully reduce the pain, an RF Neurotomy will not reduce it either.

Radio-Frequency Ablation is done using an X-ray procedure called Fluoroscopic to find the right spots. The physician will administer a mild amount of anesthetic around the genicular nerves and then use a heated radiofrequency needle to interrupt the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. An insulated needle is used to avoid damaging other tissues from heat.

Patients have testified to the fact that Radio-Frequency Neurotomy reduces pain better than other kinds of steroid injections and it lasts for a couple of months to years before the procedure is repeated.

What happens after a Genicular Nerve Block?

Patients feel less knee pain if they react positively to the medication. However, the patient will experience some pains and soreness around the injection sites. Patients are advised to rest for some hours before resuming normal activities. They are required to avoid strenuous activities for a while. The relief may last for a couple of days and a Radio-Frequency Neurotomy will last longer i.e. 6 months to two years.

Genicular Nerve Block can be done anytime the patient experiences chronic pains in the knee region again.

What are the side effects of Genicular Nerve Block?

Genicular Nerve Block and Radio Frequency Neurotomy of Knee Joint

  • Soreness at the injection sites
  • Bleeding and redness
  • Dizziness
  • Temporary numbness and pain

What are the complications and risks involved in Genicular Nerve Block?

  • Nerve damage
  • Infection

These complications rarely happen if the procedure was done the right way.

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