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.