Is Osteoarthritis The Cause Of Your Knee Pain?
As we age, it is not uncommon for us to experience knee pain from various causes. Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the more common causes that only gets more prevalent as we age.
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the wearing down of the cartilage in the knee joint that protects the ends of the bones. When the cartilage wears down to the point that the bones rub together, the tissues surrounding the joint space, called the synovium, can react and become inflamed.
The synovium can then begin to grow abnormally and this is called hypertrophy. As the synovium begins to hypertrophy, there are additional pain fibers from the nerves included in this tissue. The synovium then gets caught between the bones as the joint moves and can cause significant knee pain.
This knee pain can be extremely debilitating, limiting mobility, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks, and enjoy leisure activities. It can also limit your ability to exercise and thus have a negative impact on your overall health.
Treatment for Osteoarthritis: Genicular Artery Embolization (GAE)
Genicular Artery Embolization is a minimally invasive treatment option for knee pain. The procedure involves the injection of small particles into the genicular arteries, which are responsible for supplying blood to your synovium. These beads block the blood flow to the painful area of the knee, reducing inflammation and pain that is caused from bleeding into the knee joint or overactive nerve endings.
Am I A Good Candidate For Genicular Artery Embolization?
If you are experiencing knee pain due to osteoarthritis or hemarthrosis and you wish to avoid a knee replacement then you may be a great candidate for this procedure. Additionally, those who have already exhausted more conservative treatments like medication and physiotherapy may find genicular artery embolization helpful.
What Is The Process Of Genicular Artery Embolization Like?
GAE is an outpatient procedure that typically takes 1-2 hours. During the procedure, patients are given a mild sedative to help them relax, but remain awake and alert. The area around the knee is numbed with a local anesthetic. Using ultrasound guidance, a small catheter is inserted through the skin and into the genicular artery near the knee.