Interspace between the popliteal artery and capsule of the posterior knee (IPACK) blocks are used at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) to reduce pain after knee surgery. Patients who have an IPACK block will have the posterior part of their knee numbed. This will help minimize the opioids you need to take in the immediate recovery phase. Because it does not cover the entire knee, the IPACK block is often used in combination with an anterior knee block and a spinal or epidural for surgical anesthesia.
Once you have arrived in the operating room, your anesthesiologist will provide sedation intravenously to make you comfortable and relaxed for the nerve blocks. The IPACK block is performed using the latest ultrasound equipment to pinpoint the exact location to infiltrate nerves going to your knee joint. They will inject this area with a long-acting local anesthetic like novacaine used by your dentist. A long thin needle will be inserted on the side of your thigh to inject behind your knee.
Immediately after surgery, both your legs may be numb and immobile because of your spinal anesthesia. After the spinal wears off, behind your knee will feel number. Since there are nerves in the posterior thigh that not only go to your knee but also to your foot, your foot may feel numb as well. The numbness caused by an IPACK block may last as long as 24 hours.
As with any anesthetic, there are risks and benefits to nerve blocks. These particulars can be discussed with your anesthesiologist before surgery.
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