Genicular nerve blocks are based on the theory that pain relief and improved function can be achieved by anesthetizing the genicular nerves. The genicular nerves are a collection of nerve branches that surround and innervate the knee joint.
Prior to beginning the procedure, the area to be injected is sterilely cleaned and covered appropriately. At times, contrast is used to help confirm the needle is in the correct location prior to medication delivery.
During a genicular nerve block, these nerves are blocked with a local anesthetic under fluoroscopic (X-ray) guidance. This diagnostic procedure is unlikely to provide long-term pain relief. However, if these blocks provide adequate pain relief, which should be noticeable immediately after the procedure, then a radiofrequency ablation (burning) of the genicular nerves is the next option available for longer-lasting pain relief. During this procedure, the genicular nerves are ablated by creating a heat lesion around them. This can result in several months or years of pain relief.