Genicular Nerve Ablation

Genicular nerves are those nerves that travel from the spine to the knee, and can transmit the sensation of pain when the knee has been affected by degeneration.

A nerve ablation differs from a block in the sense that in this situation, a radiofrequency device is used to heat up the offending nerves that are causing knee pain. By disrupting the pathways in this manner, a more long-term solution to subsiding pain is achieved.

A patient will be numbed, relaxed or even put to sleep for this procedure. A needle is pushed, with the help of a fluoroscope, towards the target nerve that’s causing the pain. Once its’ placed, a thin electrode is passed through the needle and activated. This is where the ablation happens – the electrode heats the nerve, eliminating the nerve’s ability to transmit pain signals. This is repeated at 2 more nerve locations, for a total of 3 ablations.

When the procedure is complete and the patient wakes up, the entire leg may feel numb for a short while until the effects of the anesthesia wear off. They must stay in the building for a short while for some monitoring prior to heading home with a chaperone. The pain relief from the ablation should be immediately apparent, and last for several months.

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