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Understanding Genicular Artery Embolization

Posted on October 22, 2023
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Genicular artery embolization (GAE) is a minimally invasive treatment that relieves knee pain due to osteoarthritis. And it does so without surgery! In fact, many patients are able to delay or avoid knee replacements by choosing GAE. Though this is a new procedure in the U.S. and Europe, results from Japan indicate show that GAE offers a new, effective pathway for treating joint pain.

Why Does Osteoarthritis Cause Knee Pain?

For people over the age of 60, approximately 13% of women and 10% of men will develop osteoarthritis. This condition attacks joint linings like the ones in your knees. The result? You experience pain and inflammation, and may even find it difficult to maintain your mobility.

For some people, it's easy to manage osteoarthritis pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. However, other patients will need a full knee replacement to find relief. Then, there are patients who fall somewhere in between those two extremes. and if that sounds like your situation, you 'll want to learn more about genicular artery embolization.

What to Expect with Genicular Artery Embolization

This is a minimally invasive treatment for osteoarthritis that can help patients who haven't found relief from conservative treatments. It also works if you prefer to avoid or aren't a good candidate for surgery. You see, during the GAE procedure, our interventional radiologists use a small catheter to inject microscopic beads into the leg arteries that supply your knee joint. That effectively cuts off blood flow to the synovium (also called your hypervascular joint lining.)

Afterward, you should experience immediate knee pain relief because the procedure relieves inflammation and thickening of the synovium, and that's the main source of osteoarthritis pain. Even better? This procedure could also prevent cartilage breakdown, helping to slow arthritic progression in your joint.

Who's a Good GAE Candidate?

Genicular artery embolization offers prolonged relief from joint pain. It can also help improve your ability to walk and navigate stairs, while reducing inflammation and slowing arthritis progression. Luckily, GAE is a minimally-invasive, outpatient procedure, meaning it comes with a shorter recovery period and allows you to avoid overnight hospital stays. As a result, most patients resume normal activities (with light restrictions) one day after GAE.

A New Knee Replacement Alternative

True GAE candidates are people who wish to avoid surgery, incisions, stitches, staples and general anesthesia. And guess one? Genicular artery embolization isn't a one-time relief option. As a result, if your knee pain returns after six months to a year, you can undergo another GAE procedure, once again delaying surgery and the progression of osteoarthritis.

Want to learn more about GAE, and see if this procedure can help you stay active while living with arthritis? Click here to request an appointment with our Georgia Knee Institute's interventional radiologists. Together, we'll determine if this is your best osteoarthritis treatment option.

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