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Genicular Artery Embolization: Your Non-surgical Treatment for Knee Pain

Apr 09, 2024
Genicular Artery Embolization: Your Non-surgical Treatment for Knee Pain
Genicular artery embolization (GAE) is a relatively new approach to knee osteoarthritis pain that bridges the gap between nonsurgical and surgical approaches. GAE offers immediate and long-term benefits.

Knee pain affects more than 80 million people, and the incidence of knee pain has grown substantially in the past decade. Common causes include injury, arthritis, and underlying medical conditions. Chronic knee pain can limit mobility, disrupt work productivity, and lower quality of life.

Anti-inflammatory medication, joint injections, and surgeries serve as traditional approaches to managing knee pain. A relatively new approach, genicular artery embolization (GAE) is a minimally invasive treatment showing success in relieving knee pain due to osteoarthritis

The interventional radiology specialists at Third Coast Vascular offer a full range of treatments, including GAE, a novel, non-surgical treatment.

Genicular artery embolization for knee osteoarthritis pain

In osteoarthritis, damaged cartilage allows the bones of the knee joint to rub together, causing friction. As a result, the inflammatory response recruits blood flow to the area. GAE takes a novel approach by addressing the blood vessels that contribute to inflammation. 

In this in-office procedure, our board-certified interventional radiologist Awais Siddique, MD, uses state-of-the-art imaging guidance to introduce a material that stops blood flow to the synovium, a specialized tissue that lines the knee joint. 

Synovial inflammation plays a key role in knee osteoarthritis pain. By stopping the blood flow to the synovium, inflammation and pain decreases. 

The advantages of choosing GAE

GAE doesn’t carry the same risks associated with knee surgery, and it doesn’t require extended downtime. Patients typically experience significant pain reduction within weeks of the procedure, allowing for a quicker return to regular activities and an improved overall quality of life. 

Patients can expect to return home the same day and return to normal activities within a few days. However, Dr. Siddique may advise patients to avoid heavy activities for two weeks after the procedure. 

Candidate selection for GAE

GAE is appropriate for patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis or other degenerative joint diseases that haven't found relief through traditional treatments like physical therapy or medications.

Patients may be good candidates for GAE if they are:

  • Seeking an alternative to knee replacement surgery 
  • Have moderate-to-severe knee pain
  • Have a confirmed osteoarthritis diagnosis
  • Have failed to respond to other treatments
  • Have pain that limits activities

GAE may not be suitable for patients with advanced arthritis, severe knee instability, or severe peripheral artery disease. However, Dr. Siddique conducts a thorough evaluation to determine if GAE is appropriate in each case.

GAE is an excellent option for patients seeking alternatives to knee surgery or injections. To learn more about this approach to treating knee osteoarthritis pain, contact us at our Sheboygan, Wisconsin office to request an appointment with Dr. Siddique.