Genicular Artery Embolization
Genicular artery embolization (GAE), or embolization of the knee, is a newer, minimally-invasive procedure to reduce knee pain for patients with osteoarthritis. It is being performed by those doctors and facilities that are the most current in the understanding and use of advanced medical techniques. The pain reduction achieved by GAE is accomplished by reducing the blood flow to the lining of the knee. It is a safe, modern treatment with faster recovery.
How does GAE work?
GAE blocks the blood flow to the lining of the knee, known as the synovium, which are inflamed or otherwise scarred in arthritis. By blocking these arteries, a reduction in the amount of inflammation associated with arthritis occurs, a process that eliminates the associated knee pain. This is particularly helpful for patients with arthritis that must regularly use stairs or steep walkways.
Research has shown that this procedure is very appropriate for patients who are not ready or willing to undergo knee replacement surgery or who may be poor candidates for traditional knee replacement.
It is an effective way to manage the symptoms associated with arthritis, specifically of the knee and does not carry with it the risks and downtime associated with traditional surgery.
GAE is performed either under local anesthesia or with moderate ‘twilight’ sedation as an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient will go home after the procedure. The procedure typically takes less than an hour. A small catheter (a thin hollow tube) is inserted into an artery with the use of a fluoroscope. Tiny particles are then injected through the catheter into these arteries, reducing the blood supply. This in turn reduces the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, which alleviates the pain.
After the GAE procedure
Patients go home the same day. In most cases, relief occurs as the inflammation in the lining of the knee is reduced, relieving the knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. Some patients have reported pain relief immediately following the procedure; the normal scenario is relief in less than one week. No physical therapy is needed. There is no incision, no wound, and in most cases, patients can resume normal activities the day after surgery.
Who is a candidate for GAE?
- Age: 30-80 years
- Moderate to severe knee pain
- Osteoarthritis based on an x-ray reading, but without severe bony deformity or hardening of the arteries
- Local knee tenderness
- Failed relief with pain medication, physical therapy, or joint injections
What makes GAE at Zenith Health and Aesthetics Different?
- Dr. Zeni’s experience in arterial embolization in treating several medical problems is the top-rated in the Memphis area based on both experience and training.
- Typically, patients return home immediately following the procedure and have minimal pain after the next day. This is unlike the hospital settings where patients may stay for one to three days as inpatients.
- Risk of bleeding or vascular damage is virtually eliminate with Dr. Zeni’s skill, experience, and technique as opposed to other facilities.
- An experienced staff that works together daily, many of whom have worked with Dr. Zeni for many years. Everyone is aware of the necessary procedures and protocols to help assure efficiency and safety.