What to Do About Advanced Knee Osteoarthritis

Oct 02, 2023
What to Do About Advanced Knee Osteoarthritis
Advanced knee osteoarthritis is common and potentially debilitating. Thankfully, effective treatment can go far in minimizing your symptoms and improving your quality of life.

Over 500 million people around the world live with osteoarthritis (OA), and the knee is more affected than any other joint. This wear-and-tear condition causes a range of bothersome symptoms that may grow progressively worse, especially without treatment. 

Thankfully, there’s good news. Even severe OA can be treated, and surgery isn’t your only option. 

At his Midtown Manhattan practice, double board-certified radiologist Dr. Yosef Golowa provides genicular artery embolization (GAE), a minimally invasive treatment for advanced knee arthritis.

Stages of knee osteoarthritis 

Knee OA is diagnosed in stages, from one to four. Symptoms range from minor, in stage one, to severe, in stage four. While you might lose some cartilage with stage one, you won’t experience pronounced and lasting pain, stiffness, and inflammation until stage three or four. 

By the time you reach the most advanced stage of osteoarthritis, cartilage surrounding your knee is virtually obsolete. This dramatically increases discomfort and hinders mobility.

Advanced knee osteoarthritis treatment

A variety of treatments can help ease knee OA pain, including both medical care and lifestyle changes. Commonly prescribed medical treatments include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Topical creams
  • Hot or cold pads
  • Lifestyle practices (e.g., anti-inflammatory diet, exercising) 

If more conservative measures haven’t sufficed or your symptoms have progressed quite a bit, you may be a candidate for GRE, which works by blocking blood flow to the affected joint’s lining, which leads to less inflammation and pain. 

While GAE can’t undo cartilage damage, it can significantly reduce your symptoms and slow down OA progression.

What to expect from GAE for knee pain

During your in-office GAE treatment, you receive twilight sedation to keep you calm, comfortable, and sleepy. Once you’re sedated, Dr. Golowa places a catheter in an artery in your upper thigh. Then, guiding with X-ray images, he guides the catheter tube along the artery that supplies the knee’s lining with blood. From there, he injects gel particles to restrict blood circulation.

You should notice less pain roughly two weeks after your GAE treatment, as inflammation in the joint gradually decreases. 

GAE effectiveness for knee osteoarthritis

Individual results vary, but many people notice significantly improved osteoarthritis symptoms and quality of life after receiving GAE treatment.  

Research has linked GAE to knee OA with beneficial outcomes as soon as three days after the procedure and an over 50% reduction in pain, which usually continues a year later. Such improvements may help delay or negate the need for more invasive treatments, like total knee replacement surgery.

To learn more about genicular artery embolization or find out if you’re a good candidate, call our office or book an appointment with Dr. Golowa through our website today.