Osteoarthritis affects over 30 million people in the United States causing chronic pain and disability. Risk factors for the development of arthritis include advancing age, obesity, family history, and joint trauma. Over time, or as a result of trauma and repetitive motion, the cartilage in the knee stiffens and loses elasticity. On a more complex level, inflammatory mediators are released from the cartilage and synovium. This inflammation contributes to significant pain and discomfort in the joint.
Genicular Artery Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure that can provide relief to patients experiencing chronic knee pain associated with osteoarthritis. The procedure blocks/reduces blood flow to the synovium in the knee thereby reducing inflammation. The reduction in inflammation can significantly reduce the amount of pain that is associated with arthritic disease.
This procedure is a minimally invasive procedure that can be safely performed in the outpatient setting allowing you to return home the same day. The procedure takes approximately 1-2 hours to perform. During the procedure, conscious sedation will be given to provide comfort. A local anesthetic will be used to reduce pain as well. Using ultrasound, a small access site will be made in the artery of the upper thigh or ankle. This access site is similar to a large IV. A small catheter will be inserted into the access site. The catheter is then guided using fluoroscopy (X-ray) imaging to the arteries in the knee. Small amounts of contrast are used to help visualize the arteries. Once the catheter is advanced to the arteries that are supplying the knee synovium, tiny particles are injected into the capillaries around the knee to reduce blood flow and decrease inflammation.
Patients will be able to go home the same day as the procedure. There is little recovery and many activities may be resumed the next day. Over the next few weeks, the inflammation in the joint will begin to decrease. Most patients experience significant reduction in pain within 2 weeks. The pain relief has been shown to last for 1-2 years and longer in some patients.