Genicular Artery Embolization

An alternative treatment for osteoarthritis of the knee

Knee osteoarthritis can be a painful, debilitating condition

Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is common; it affects one in three Americans over the age of 60. OA causes inflammation within the knee, leading to discomfort, pain and difficulty walking.

Genicular Artery Embolization - TN

Medication and physical therapy are often prescribed as “conservative” treatments for OA. However, an ongoing medication regimen may not be desired due to the long-term health risks associated with NSAID and opioid drugs.

When OA leads to cartilage destruction, many opt for total knee replacement surgery. Unfortunately, not all patients are able to, or wish to have, this surgery. Pain injections are also used to treat OA knee pain. These can last for up to six months but require 4-5 weeks after treatment for results to take effect.

New research is changing the way we think about OA

Today, we have a better understanding of the cause of osteoarthritis within the knee. As bone cartilage breaks down, it releases debris into the synovium, the lining of the knee responsible for producing the fluids that nourish and lubricate the knee joint. This debris triggers the production of T-cell lymphocytes and white blood cells, which inflame the synovium and cause further cartilage disintegration within the knee. This condition, called synovitis, accelerates cartilage loss and causes pain.

Knee Arthritis Relief - Tennessee

A different approach: Genicular artery embolization (GAE)

Interventional radiologists have discovered that depriving the synovium of blood in turn decreases inflammation and the associated pain of OA and can help prevent further cartilage destruction. During the procedure, the doctor guides a tiny catheter through the body’s blood vessels to one of the genicular arteries within the knee. Tiny particles are injected into the artery, which reduces the flow of blood.
A GAE clinical study performed in 2021 demonstrated that the average pain scores decreased from 8 out of 10 to 3 out of 10 within the first week of the procedure.1

The convenience of an outpatient procedure

GAE is performed in an outpatient setting by the interventional radiologists of Memphis Vascular Center. No general anesthesia and no overnight stay are required. You can resume most normal activities the day after the procedure.
Genicular artery embolization is recommended if you:

  • Are between 40-80 years of age
  • Have moderate to severe knee pain
  • Are diagnosed with osteoarthritis based on X-ray or other imaging, but without bony deformity/sclerosis
  • Experience local knee tenderness
  • Have resistant or failed conservative treatment (medication, physical therapy, joint injections)

If you feel that you may qualify for this procedure, please call us to arrange a consultation. We will work directly with your doctor to help determine if GAE is right for you.

To schedule your consultation, please call (901) 683-1890.

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