Osteoarthritis of the knee
As we age, the healthy, protective cartilage within the knee joint begins to erode. Over time, the loss of cartilage causes the bones within the knee to rub together, which can result in significant pain and even a loss of mobility. Almost half of older Americans will experience this condition, known as osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, and even though you may be experiencing pain, you may not yet be a candidate for knee replacement surgery, also known as total knee arthroplasty, As a result, you may be required to take pain medication or receive pain injections for many years.
Within the last decade, it was discovered that the inflammation within the knee caused by osteoarthritis accelerates cartilage degeneration. Therefore it is important to treat the inflammation to slow the progression of osteoarthritis.
A new treatment option – GAE
While total knee replacement is one of the most common and proven surgeries for knee osteoarthritis, a new and less invasive treatment option is available to those who may not yet be candidates for this surgery, or who do not wish to have it. Genicular artery embolization (GAE) is a highly effective way to reduce inflammation within the knee joint and slow or halt the progression of osteoarthritis.
During the GAE procedure, an interventional radiologist uses imaging to guide a catheter into one or more of the genicular arteries that feed the synovium–the lining of the knee where the inflammation occurs. The artery is then embolized or “blocked,” which reduces inflammation and its associated pain. GAE spares the patient the risks of a long-term medication regimen, or the need to receive pain injections every few months.
According to a clinical study, average pain scores decreased from 8 out of 10 to 3 out of 10 within the first week of the procedure.4