A Genicular Nerve Block is an injection of a local anesthetic to block the nerves that transmit pain from the knee. The knee joint is surrounded by several nerve branches, known collectively as the genicular nerves. A genicular nerve block can be both a diagnostic and a therapeutic procedure to determine if the pathologic changes (i.e. arthritis, meniscal tears, etc) and inflammation within the knee joint is the source of your knee pain. It also confirms that the knee pain will respond well to the long term therapeutic procedure, which is called radiofrequency ablation or rhizotomy.
What does it treat?
Genicular Nerve Blocks and radiofrequency ablation are used to treat patients with chronic knee pain. For patients with severe knee degeneration due to osteoarthritis, surgical joint replacement is often the most appropriate option for alleviating the pain these nerves generate. But patients of advanced age or who have other medical complications (or those who have pain despite previous knee arthroscopy or joint replacement surgeries) or those who do not want replacement surgery may be candidates for genicular nerve blocks and ablation.
How is it performed?
You will be placed on the procedure table on your back. The injection site is sterilized with a cleaning solution. The site to be injected is numbed with a local anesthetic, and a needle is directed to the target area. X-ray guidance is used to ensure proper placement and positioning of the needle. When the needle is properly positioned near the genicular nerve, local anesthetic is injected to numb that nerve. This will be repeated at multiple sites around the knee to block all the genicular nerves.