Pain Management After Knee Surgery: Types of Nerve Blocks Explained

During knee surgery, nerve blocks are often used to provide pain relief and reduce the need for general anesthesia or opioids. Several types of nerve blocks can be employed depending on the specific surgical procedure and patient’s needs. Here are some common nerve blocks used for knee surgery:

1. Femoral Nerve Block

A femoral nerve block involves injecting a local anesthetic around the femoral nerve, which supplies sensation to the front of the thigh and knee joint. This block is effective for surgeries such as total knee replacement or anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction.

2. Sciatic Nerve Block

A sciatic nerve block targets the sciatic nerve, which provides sensation to the back of the thigh, lower leg, and foot. It can be performed using various techniques, such as a popliteal approach or subgluteal approach. This block is useful for procedures involving the back of the knee, such as posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) reconstruction or Achilles tendon repair.

3. Adductor Canal Block

An adductor canal block targets the saphenous nerve within the adductor canal of the thigh. This block provides pain relief to the medial (inner) aspect of the knee while sparing motor function. It is commonly used for knee surgeries, such as medial meniscus repair or partial knee replacement.

4. Obturator Nerve Block

An obturator nerve block targets the obturator nerve, which supplies sensation to the inner thigh and knee joint. It is typically used in combination with other nerve blocks for comprehensive pain control during knee surgery.

5. Popliteal Nerve Block

A popliteal nerve block involves injecting a local anesthetic near the popliteal fossa, which is located behind the knee joint. This block can provide pain relief for procedures involving the lower leg, ankle, or foot.

It’s important to note that the choice of nerve block depends on various factors, including the type and duration of surgery, patient’s medical condition, and surgeon’s preference. The specific technique and dosage of the nerve block are determined by an anesthesiologist or pain management specialist based on individual circumstances.