Genicular Nerve Radiofrequency Ablation
Genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation is used for treatment of knee pain. It is an excellent treatment option in patients who are not candidates for knee surgery or have undergone knee surgery and continue to experience knee pain.
Genicular radiofrequency ablation uses heat to create a lesion (damaged area) on the outer portion of the 3 nerves that innervate the knee (superolateral, superomedial, and inferomedial genicular nerves). The lesion impairs the nerve’s ability to transmit signals about knee pain. Because the nerve is “turned off,” pain is less intense.
Using fluoroscopy (X-ray imaging) needles are carefully inserted to lie next to the affected genicular nerve. A small electrode (radiofrequency electrode) is inserted through the needle. To ensure the cannula is in the correct position, a very mild electrical current is delivered through the electrode to the nerve to ensure that the correct nerve is targeted. Numbing medication is provided and the radiofrequency ablation is performed. For most people this sensation feels like a warm cup of coffee.
Results following radiofrequency can take up to 2 weeks to notice. Average benefit lasts 6-12 months. Over time, the nerves will grow back (regenerate) at which point the procedure can be repeated.
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