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Knee Osteoarthritis: Alternative to Total Knee Replacement

What is Knee Osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis of the knee affecting over 250 million people affected worldwide. In patients with OA, the cartilage of the knee starts to wear away, and the protective space between the bones decreases as well. This can result in the bones rubbing against each other. Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis include increasing pain when active, stiffness, swelling, and warmth in the joint. This condition is seen in patients over the age of 50, and usually develops and worsens over time.

Currently, conservative treatments for knee OA include weight loss, activity modification, physical therapy, drugs such as opioids and NSAIDs, and intra-articular injections. Each option has shown improvement in patients with knee OA, but treatment should be individualized. When used correctly, these options can minimize pain and increase function, all while avoiding invasive surgical options, such as a total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

What Do We Offer At DOC?

Genicular Nerve Blocks

A genicular nerve block (GNB) is a non-surgical procedure that temporarily blocks the nerve signal that causes pain in the knee. With the use of two numbing agents, the physician injects the medication into the nerves of your knee, and as a result numbs the nerves and prevents pain signals from going to the brain. The pain relief is almost immediate and can last up to 8 hours. This procedure helps locate and treat the affected nerve, eliminating pain altogether.

Patients who find success with a GNB are often good candidates for a genicular nerve ablation (GNA), which cauterizes the nerves of the knee. This procedure is also non-invasive and is used with x-ray guidance. GNA is another low-risk treatment option that can provide pain relief for up to 18 months.

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