Geniculate Artery Embolization (GAE)


By Monika Neale, MS III

The network of the geniculate arteries comprises six arteries that supply blood flow
to the knee. The role of these arteries in various inflammatory processes have
received a lot of attention lately, especially in the areas of recurrent hemarthrosis
following total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and osteoarthritic (OA) knee pain -- both
of which can be effectively treated with geniculate artery embolization. Although
recurrent hemarthrosis and osteoarthritic pain are the two most studied conditions,
there may be other experimental indications for this procedure (e.g., aneurysms or
post-surgical complications).

GAE is a newer, minimally invasive, image-guided procedure that can offer
benefits and improvement for patients whose symptoms have failed to improve
with other conservative measures. Typically, GAE is a short procedure, lasting
between 60-90 minutes, and it is performed during an outpatient visit. Most
patients are able to go home after a brief period of post-procedural observation and
they report significant improvement in their symptoms shorty after the procedure.

During the GAE procedure, a small incision is created in the femoral artery in the
groin area to provide access for catheterization. Using fluoroscopic visual
guidance, a very thin and long catheter is inserted into the artery all the way down
to the knee. The catheter may be positioned in one or several of the arteries. Based
on an initial angiogram, your physician decides how many of the geniculate
arteries need embolization. Once the catheter is in place, an embolizing agent, such
as small spheres or surgical glue are injected to either reduce or block blood flow. 
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