GAE Is A New Treatment on the Horizon
'Geniculate artery embolization' is a real mouthful! Thankfully abbreviated to GAE, this treatment could soon be an alternative to drugs or surgery for treating osteoarthritis caused knee pain.
Among other things, osteoarthritis can cause significant knee pain. There may soon be hope for people who want to avoid open surgery in the form of this minimally-invasive treatment. Although it's been investigated internationally over the past several years, research on the first US clinical trials of GAE was presented early last week.
GAE is an image-guided outpatient treatment that takes 45 to 90 minutes to perform and doesn't require any physical therapy afterwards. It involves making a pinhole incision and then inserting catheters and microscopic beads that block blood flow to the tiny arteries and capillaries within the lining of the knee. This reduces osteoarthritis-caused inflammation, thus reducing pain and increasing the range of motion.
In the multicenter clinical trial, GAE was successfully performed on 13 patients with severe osteoarthritis knee pain – the degree of their discomfort and disability was evaluated both before and after treatment. When the progress of eight of those patients was assessed a month after the procedure, they were found to have an average of 80% improvement in function.
"This procedure could have a significant impact in the treatment of osteoarthritis pain as a whole," says Dr. Sandeep Bagla of the Vascular Institute of Virginia, lead author of the study. "The current mainstay of treatment in patients who have arthritis are pain medications, which come with significant side effects and risks. But GAE provides another option for patients struggling with pain and may even allow patients to avoid the painful recovery of knee surgery and the need for the kind of opioid pain medications associated with the dangerous epidemic in the United States."
If you're plagued by osteoarthritis pain, be on the look out for this new treatment. GAE may become an option worthy of consideration.