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What is Genicular Artery Embolization?

Posted on October 22, 2023
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Genicular artery embolization, or GAE is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that treats knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. In fact, many patients can delay or avoid knee replacements by undergoing GAE. And, while this procedure is new to the U.S. and Europe, it's been in practice for longer in Japan. And patient data from overseas indicates that GAE provides an effective way to treat joint pain.

Osteoarthritis and Knee Pain: What's the Connection?

About 13% of women and 10% of men over the age of 60 develop osteoarthritis. This disease attacks joint linings in many places, including your knees. In turn, people develop pain, inflammation, and even limits on mobility.

Some people can manage osteoarthritis pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. However, other patients only find relief with knee replacement surgery. But, there is a middle ground of patients who could benefit from a different treatment option. Sound like what you're looking for? Stick with us as we discuss genicular artery embolization.

Genicular Artery Embolization: What to Expect

This minimally invasive osteoarthritis treatment helps patients who don't find 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. This cuts the flow of blood to your 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.

The New Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery

The best candidates for GAE are patients who wish to avoid surgery, incisions, stitches, staples and general anesthesia. And guess what? 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 appointmentClick here to request an appointmentClick here to request an appointment with our Texas Knee Institute's interventional radiologists. Together, we'll determine if this is your best osteoarthritis treatment option.

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