Skip to main content

Genicular Artery Embolization


What is Genicular Artery Embolization (GAE)?

Genicular artery embolization, or embolization of the knee, is a novel, minimally-invasive procedure to reduce knee pain for patients with osteoarthritis (OA) or pain after a knee replacement. Some knee pain is caused by abnormal small arteries. GAE can block these extra arteries, which can decrease inflammation and get rid of nerves that cause pain.


What is the purpose of a Genicular Artery Embolization?

As described above, GAE can reduce inflammation and painful nerves and this can decrease pain. The goal is to improve your quality of life, reduce the use of opioids and other pain-killers, and avoid pain management injections or physical therapy.


How is the procedure performed?

GAE uses a catheter inserted into an artery in the leg. This is like starting an IV, but it goes into a small artery in the leg. All the work is done through that IV/catheter. 

It is an outpatient procedure without any incisions. Using real-time X-ray we guide the catheter to the arteries around the knee. There, we inject tiny particles that block the excess arteries. This reduces inflammation, abnormal nerves, and pain.


Will the procedure be painful?

It is a lot like getting an IV. There is a small poke for numbing medicine before the catheter is inserted. After the catheter is in the artery it doesn't cause anymore pain. There is slight discomfort after the procedure as described below but you should improve quickly and can manage with ice and sometimes some over the counter medications.  


What are the discharge instructions?

You will spend 1 to 2 hours in the recovery area before being able to go home. You will be scheduled for a clinic visit about 1 month after the procedure. Complete recovery usually takes 2 to 5 days. No physical exertion or heavy lifting (greater than 10 lbs.) is allowed for the next 3 days. Slowly increase your physical activity. Depending on your work and its demands, you may return to work.


How long does it take for the procedure to work?

That is a great question, and every patient is different. Some do feel some relief within a few days but it may take several weeks.