Osteoarthritis or DJD of the knee is a condition in which the cartilage and underlying bone of the knee breaks down over time. Without cartilagen, the bones can begin to rub together. After enough time, this can cause the formation of painful growths known as bone spurs.
Osteoarthritis of the knee most commonly affects older demographics, but patients of any age can experience this progressive disintegration of cartilage. Other common risk factors include a history of knee injury, or a genetic predisposition to osteoarthritis. Obesity also contributes significantly to the development of osteoarthritis, as excess weight can put a strain on the joints of the knee.
Osteoarthritis of the knee manifests as various types of discomfort in the knee area. This can include:
If osteoarthritis progresses, it can result in the formation of bone spurs. Bone spurs can make the knee appear knobby or bumpy, and cause increased pain. They can also cause reduced range of motion, and a feeling of numbness.
Traditional treatment of knee osteoarthritis is with medications such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. It also can be helped by physical therapy. When medications and physical therapy fail to control symptoms, injection of the knee joint with steroids or viscous liquids can relieve symptoms up to several months. Repeated injections are required to control symptoms. When injections fail, orthopedic surgeons will usually offer partial or total knee replacement surgery.
Genicular artery embolization, or GAE is a relatively new adaptation of a non-surgical procedure, embolization, performed for various conditions throughout the body for various conditions for decades. The application of embolization procedure to help knee arthritis is relatively new being performed for several years. Studies have shown that GAE can significantly reduce the symptoms caused by osteoarthritis of the knee for up to two years in approximately 70% of patients. The studies are ongoing and new data will continue to emerge. GAE can help delay the immediate necessity of knee replacement surgery.