The popliteal fossa block is a procedure done on an outpatient basis and it provides temporary numbness to the lower area of the leg. The popliteal fossa is a scientific term referring to the back area of the knee joint. This procedure creates a blockage that prevents the communication of pain signals through the nerves to the brain. When this block procedure is performed, either the peroneal or tibial (or in some cases both branches) branch of the sciatic nerve is drenched with anesthesia, preventing any sensations from reaching the muscles located in the lower portion of the leg and the foot.
The popliteal fossa block is usually done for patients who may require a surgical procedure to be performed in the region below the knee. Examples of various surgical procedures that can be performed following a popliteal fossa block are on the fook, achilles tendon, or the foot.
Prior to the start of this procedure, the patient is positioned in a proper manner and the popliteal fossa is sterilized using antiseptic solution followed by the application of a local anesthetic that helps to numb the area. Either an ultrasound or a needle utilizing electric impulses for the purpose of stimulating the nerves will be used as guidance in locating the nerve(s) to be blocked. Once the location has been determined, a needle will be inserted right through the popliteal fossa to the nerve or within close proximity of it.
Anesthetic will be injected via the needle which creates a temporary blockage, preventing the traveling of the pain signal to the brain. Once the blockage has been created, the patient can expect to feel the numbing effects for a period of up to several hours, which aids in the performance of the surgical procedure following the block. Following the completion of the surgery and the dissipation of the block, the patient may be provided with pain medication to help manage the onset of pain.