Options for Pain Relief After ACL Repair (Dr Keene and Dr Clancy)
For your ACL repair you will have either general or regional anesthesia. After the case you will have the option of having a nerve block for pain control.
What is a femoral nerve block?
Single injection blocks can be used to reduce the pain after surgery. Local anesthetics and other drugs are used for these procedures to reduce or “block” pain from the femoral nerve. These blocks most often last around 15 hours.
How is a femoral nerve block done?
- The anesthesiologist will numb the skin where the nerve block will be done. A special needle is placed near the femoral nerve. This nerve is in your groin.
- Local anesthetic is used to bathe the nerves and block out pain.
- The femoral nerve provides feeling over the front of your thigh. It also provides function to the muscles in the front of your thigh. This area will be numb. Those muscles will be weak, while the nerve block is working.
What are the benefits of a femoral block for pain control?
- We use femoral nerve blocks for nearly all of the patients having ACL surgery. We believe it decreases the amount of pain patients have. It reduces the amount of oral pain medicine they use.
- Femoral nerve blocks decrease pain in the front of the knee. They are less effective for the back of the knee. This means that patients having ACL reconstruction with hamstring grafts may have pain in the back of the thigh or knee. This may occur despite an effective femoral nerve block.
What are the risks of a femoral block?
- Like any other procedure, there are risks with a femoral block. Complications or side effects can occur, even though you are watched carefully. Your anesthesiologist takes special measures to avoid them.
- Nerve injury after a femoral block is rare. It can happen in up to 1 in 4,000 blocks to 1 in 200,000 blocks based on the type of block.
- It can be related to direct needle injury of the nerve, bleeding, or infection.
- To prevent nerve injury, tell your anesthesiologist if you have any sharp or radiating pain during needle placement or injection.
- If you have any new symptoms such as tingling, numbness, or motor problems after a nerve block has already worn off, you should call us.
- You also should have help walking for as long as this block is working.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/21/2012
Copyright © 04/03/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7295
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