The femoral nerve starts at a nerve bundle in the lower back. It passes through the pelvic area and branches off as it travels down the leg to the foot. The nerve affects feeling and movement of the thigh, hip, and knee. A femoral nerve block decreases sensation in these areas.
Before the procedure, the doctor may request the following:
Imaging tests, which may include
x-rays, or an
Current medications should be discussed with the doctor before surgery. Certain medications need to be stopped up to a week before your procedure.
A local anesthetic will be used at the injection site before the block is delivered. It will numb the area. A sedative may also be give to encourage relaxation.
Description of the Procedure
This procedure may be done as treatment by itself or as part of your treatment.
You will be asked to lie on your back. The doctor will locate the femoral nerve by feeling of the pulse from the femoral artery just below your pelvic area. The femoral nerve is located next to this blood vessel. An ultrasound machine may also be used to help guide the needle. The needle will then be inserted into the femoral nerve. More than one injection may be needed to get the needle into the correct position. You may feel your thigh muscle twitch when the nerve is stimulated by the needle. Once the needle is in the correct place, the anesthetic medication will be injected into the nerve.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Local anesthesia will prevent pain at the injection site during the femoral nerve block. You may have some discomfort at the insertion site after the nerve block wears off.
At the Hospital
After the procedure, the hospital staff will monitor blood pressure and heart rate.
Transportation home and assistance at home will be needed until the anesthesia wears off.
Call Your Doctor
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Redness, swelling, pain, or discharge from the insertion site
Pain that does not go away with the medication you were given
Excess bleeding from the insertion site
Falls, especially if they result in injury
Residual tingling, numbness, weakness or shooting pain in your leg
Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Anesthesia for hip and knee surgery. Ortho Info—American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00372. Updated March 2014. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Femoral nerve block. New York School of Regional Anesthesia website. Available at: http://www.nysora.com/femoral-nerve-block. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Sharma S, Iorio R, Specht LM, Davies-Lepie S, Healy WL. Complications of femoral nerve block for total knee arthroplasty. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2010;468(1):135-140.
Szucs S, Morau D. Femoral nerve blockade. Med Ultrason. 2010;12(2):139-144.
Wright I. Peripheral nerve blocks in the outpatient setting. AORN J. 2011;94(1):59-74.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 7/1/2014
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