What is Knee Embolization?
- Pain in the knee joint during or after movement
- Joint stiffness that may be more noticeable in the mornings or after long periods of inactivity
- Loss of flexibility
- Grating sensation
- Bone spurs
How is Knee Embolization treated?
Treatments for knee pain today include pain medications, steroid injections, physical therapy, surgery, and Genicular Artery Embolization (GAE). Many people don’t want to rely on pain medications that need to be taken daily and can lead to toxicity from prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or dependence on opioids. Injections can provide temporary relief, possibly lasting several months. Physical therapy can be helpful and is considered standard treatment. Many times, the knee pain will return. Knee replacement surgery is a viable option, but many patients may not be ready for a major surgery.
What is Genicular Artery Embolization (GAE)?
GAE is a non-surgical procedure designed to block blood flow to parts of the knee that are inflamed from osteoarthritis (OA). This inflammation causes pain, in part related to synovial angiogenesis, the formation of new arteries in the lining of the knee. By blocking the blood flow, inflammation related to osteoarthritis is reduced and 90% of patients demonstrate improvement in their knee pain.
To perform the treatment, patients undergo moderate sedation, which is all that is needed for the short procedure that is usually under 90 minutes. An interventional radiologist will make a small incision and advance a catheter into the affected arteries. Next, small particles are injected into the capillaries to create a blockage, while leaving the majority of blood flow to the knee unaffected. This technique is called embolization. Patients are then discharged on the same day and begin to feel relief from knee pain over the next couple of weeks.
What is the best treatment for osteoarthritis-related knee pain?
While treatments include pain medications, steroid injections, nerve ablation, physical therapy, joint surgery and Genicular Artery Embolization (GAE), we believe GAE is one of the best treatments for knee pain. This is because it is a minimally invasive, quick procedure that has a short recovery period while offering pain relief.
What are the most common causes of knee pain?
Knee pain can come from many sources including incorrect form during exercise, trauma to the knee and osteoarthritis (OA), also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). We specialize in the treatment of knee pain related to osteoarthritis.
How is this procedure performed?
GAE is performed at ECCO Medical’s Clinic. It is an outpatient procedure that does not require general anesthesia. Rather, we use moderate sedation to keep patients comfortable throughout the short treatment. It typically takes about 1-1.5 hours, with an hour of recovery afterward.