19 May Relieving Knee or Hip Pain With the Fascia Iliac Block
Many of the pain-relieving treatments we offer at Lone Star Pain Medicine are considered injection therapies. This is because we use needles to inject medications designed to reduce inflammation, block pain signals, or provide general analgesia. One of the more recent treatments we have added is the fascia iliac block.
The fascia iliac block is used primarily to relieve pain in the knee or hip. Although it is most often recommended to deal with postsurgical pain, it can be recommended under other circumstances as well. The procedure can be practiced as a one-off outpatient procedure or as an IV therapy that offers continuous pain relief over a significant period of time.
Anesthesia for the Femoral Nerve
This particular procedure normally targets the femoral nerve, which is located in the thigh. It sometimes targets the lateral cutaneous or obturator nerves as well. For the purposes of this post, we will focus on the femoral nerve due to its association with postsurgical hip and knee pain.
Fascia iliac block is designed to bathe the femoral nerve in anesthesia. In a one-off procedure, the doctor inserts a needle and guides it to the general area of the femoral nerve. Anesthesia is injected and the needle is removed.
A doctor can perform the injection with or without the help of ultrasound. When ultrasound is utilized, the doctor wants to be more exact about needle placement. Ultrasound helps him or her locate the best possible injection site.
For Long-Term Pain Relief
A patient recovering from knee or hip surgery may need long-term pain relief in the days immediately following surgery. In such cases, the fascia iliac block can be administered via IV therapy. Rather than a single injection with one dose of anesthesia, a cannula is used to insert an IV tube and direct it toward the femoral nerve.
The tube is connected to an IV bag that delivers a steady stream of anesthesia to the site. As long as the anesthesia drip continues, the patient experiences pain relief. At such time as the patient’s doctor feels the IV is no longer necessary, the tube is removed and the site bandaged.
A Safe and Effective Procedure
Although fascia iliac block is a comparatively new procedure in pain medicine, it is considered safe and effective. A pain medicine doctor can normally administer the procedure without any advanced training. The one-off procedure performed with a needle can be completed in just a few minutes.
In terms of side effects, there are too many. Most patients will experience some minor discomfort during needle insertion. Those who undergo the IV therapy may find the tube a bit uncomfortable.
Post procedure, there may be some swelling and bruising for a few days. Some people experience minor pain at the injection site and, as always, infection is a risk. Patients should inform their doctors immediately if they show signs of infection in the hours or days following the procedure.
We Can Talk About It
Although the fascia iliac block is normally reserved to relieve postsurgical pain in the hip or knee, it does offer applications for other types of hip and knee pain. If you think you might be a good candidate for this procedure, let’s sit down and talk about it.
Meeting with one of our pain specialists can help you better understand this procedure, how it works, and how it might help. Our doctors are ready to answer your questions and offer qualified advice. If it turns out that fascia iliac block is not appropriate for your condition, we can recommend other treatments.