Genicular Nerve Radiofrequency Ablation for Chronic Knee Pain or Failed Total Knee Arthroplasty
Chronic knee pain can be difficult to treat effectively. Intervention attempts using medicine often provide inadequate relief and come with adverse side effects. While corticosteroid injections can provide immediate relief, it’s temporary. While other treatments are currently in development, they’re still in the experimental stage. There are a limited number of surgical options available, and total joint replacement isn’t appropriate for younger patients or those who are obese. Patients also may be suffering from persistent knee pain even after total knee replacement. Pain Management Services provides effective treatment in the form of genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation (GNRFA) as an innovative approach to chronic knee pain and failed total knee arthroplasty.
Discovering GNRFA And How It Can Ease Chronic Knee Pain
The first stage of treating chronic knee pain involves using a genicular nerve block. This procedure is performed to confirm the source of the pain and as a diagnostic process. When this approach proves to provide effective, if temporary, relief, a GNRFA will be considered. If a patient reports at least 80% relief from pain using a genicular nerve block for a couple of hours, there’s a good chance that a GNRFA will provide lasting and meaningful relief.
A GNRFA is usually performed using a local anesthetic, though IV sedation may be available for some patients. Fluoroscopy imaging is used during the procedure to help guide the needle to the target sites. Once the needles are in place, a combination of steroid and anesthetic medication will be administered prior to the radiofrequency ablation to reduce discomfort. Radiofrequency ablation uses electrical stimulation to generate heat at the target site with the goal of “injuring” the nerve. This is accomplished by administering a temperature of 80C for 90 seconds to the target nerve.
Some conditions that may prevent a patient from benefiting from GNRFA include:
- Infection, especially infection close to the target site
- Electrical implants close to the target site
- Anatomic deformities
- Cardiac rhythm devices, like pacemakers. Pacemakers can falsely identify the electrical charge used during the GNRFA as a shockable dysrhythmia.
Following the procedure, you’ll be able to move around and typically can return to normal life activities the following day. All patients are different and some soreness may persist in the target site for up to 1-2 weeks. At this point, the patient should be experiencing the full benefits of the treatment. Strategies to combat post procedure soreness include injecting steroid at the site of the ablation, icing the area 20 minutes on and off for 3-4 days, and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen. Most patients report the benefits continue for 6-9 months. When the benefits begin to fade, the GNRFA procedure can be repeated.
Contact Pain Management Services For More Information
If you’ve been experiencing chronic knee pain and are looking for relief, reach out to Pain Management Services. We’re ready to receive you at one of our three offices, to address your chronic pain needs. Just call our offices, and we’ll arrange a visit with one of our physicians to begin your assessment. During your visit, they’ll go over your symptoms and medical history and provide options for treatment. You shouldn’t have to suffer through life with chronic pain; call our clinic today to arrange an appointment to address your symptoms. We look forward to welcoming you to Pain Management Services!