Thermal Denervation to Decrease Knee Pain
Radiofrequency neurotomy of the genicular nerves is injecting local anesthetic on the genicular nerve to interupt its ability to send pain signals.
Radiofrequency Neurotomy Genicular Nerve Block for Knee Pain
The knee joint is surrounded by several nerve branches, known collectively as the genicular nerves. 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 a minimally invasive procedure known as radiofrequency neurotomy of the genicular nerves.
What is Radiofrequency Neurotomy?
Using fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance, your National Spine & Pain Centers physician will inject a small amount of local anesthetic around the knee joint and then use a heated (radiofrequency) needle to disrupt the genicular nerve’s ability to send pain signals.
Radiofrequency neurotomy (also known as radiofrequency ablation) has been used for many years to address back and neck pain, but holds promise for chronic knee pain as well. A study in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases reports that radiofrequency neurotomy for knee osteoarthritis appears to reduce pain better than traditional corticosteroid injections.
What should I expect?
If your National Spine & Pain Centers’ physician determines you are a candidate for radiofrequency neurotomy of the genicular nerves, the procedure will be performed in our offices’ state-of-the-art procedure suites. Although the radiofrequency neurotomy itself will only take about 30 minutes, you should anticipate you will be under observation for about an hour afterward.
Following the procedure, you may experience some temporary tingling or numbness around the injection area. Because of the complexity of the numerous nerves surrounding the knee, you may still experience some pain, but the procedure can be repeated to provide further relief.
Most patients report significant pain relief, with many enjoying a better quality of life for as many as 4-6 months before having a repeat procedure.