Genicular Artery Embolization for the Treatment of Knee Pain Secondary to Osteoarthritis

J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2020 Jul;31(7):1096-1102. doi: 10.1016/j.jvir.2019.09.018. Epub 2019 Dec 16.


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of embolization of hyperemic synovial tissue for the treatment of knee pain secondary to osteoarthritis (OA).

Materials and methods: Twenty patients with radiographic knee OA and moderate-to-severe pain refractory to conservative therapy were enrolled in a prospective, 2-site pilot study. Genicular artery embolization (GAE) was performed with 75- or 100-μm spherical particles. Patients were assessed with magnetic resonance imaging at baseline and at 1 month and with the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) at baseline and at 1, 3, and 6 months. Adverse events were recorded at all timepoints.

Results: Embolization of at least 1 genicular artery was achieved in 20/20 (100%) patients. Mean VAS improved from 76 mm ± 14 at baseline to 29 mm ± 27 at 6-month follow-up (P < .01). Mean WOMAC score improved from 61 ± 12 at baseline to 29 ± 27 at 6-month follow-up (P < .01). Self-limiting skin discoloration occurred in 13/20 (65%) patients. Two of 20 (10%) patients developed plantar sensory paresthesia that resolved within 14 days.

Conclusions: GAE to treat knee pain secondary to OA can be performed safely and demonstrates potential efficacy. Further randomized comparative studies are needed to determine true treatment effect versus placebo effect.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthralgia / diagnosis
  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Arthralgia / therapy*
  • Embolization, Therapeutic*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / complications
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Virginia