Skip to content.

Learn more about Geniculate Artery Embolization || Learn more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization


Geniculate Artery Embolization

What is Geniculate Artery Embolization?

Genicular artery embolization is a new treatment for those with knee osteoarthritis or residual pain after knee replacement.

Details of the Procedure

The genicular arteries are small blood vessels that supply the knee joint. These arteries are the primary means through which inflammatory mediators travel to the knee, which cause pain in patients with osteoarthritis. Parts of these arteries can be embolized (blocked) with tiny beads to reduce the flow to the synovium (lining of the knee). This process has been shown to reduce the inflammation and pain that often accompanies knee osteoarthritis. When done properly, this DOES NOT affect the blood flow to the leg.

Risks and Benefits

What are the Risks?

  • Slight bruising at the incision site
  • Minor inflammation or infection

Benefits of Geniculate Artery Embolization

  • Outpatient procedure that does not require a
    hospital stay
  • Ability to do this locally without anesthesia
  • Clinical research shows 80% of patients report pain reduction from 8/10 to 3/10
  • Up to 6 years of pain relief
  • Short recovery time

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the procedure hurt?

The procedure is relatively painless. We give a numbing medication at the procedure site to ensure that you are comfortable.

Who does the procedure?

A board-certified vascular surgeon does the procedure.

How long does the procedure take?

The procedure takes about 45 minutes. We monitor the patient afterwards for an additional 90 minutes.

Who is a candidate?

There are four broad categories of patients who will benefit from GAE:

Those who need to increase activity before knee replacement but are limited by pain from doing so.

Those who are not candidates for knee replacement due to other medical conditions.

Those who have failed other conservative measures such as steroid injection.

Those who continue to have some residual pain AFTER knee replacement.

How long before my symptoms go away?

Our patients typically note improvement in pain in 1-2 weeks. Studies have shown that this pain relief can last up to several years (Okuno et al).

Uterine Fibroid Embolization

What are Uterine Fibroids?

Uterine fibroids (UF), or leiomyomas, are benign tumors arising from uterine smooth muscle. These growths develop in the uterus and appear alone or in groups. They range in size from as small as a grain of rice to as big as a melon. In some cases, fibroids can grow into the uterine cavity or outward from the uterus on stalks. An estimated 20% to 50% of women of reproductive age currently have fibroids, and up to 77% of women will develop fibroids sometime during their childbearing years. Only about one-third of these fibroids are large enough to be detected by a health care provider during a physical exam, so they are often undiagnosed. As UF grow in volume, symptoms including constipation, bladder dysfunction, and chronic back and pelvic pain

What are the Risk Factors?

The exact etiology of UF remains unclear. Research suggests each tumor develops from an abnormal muscle cell in the uterus and multiplies rapidly when encountering the estrogen hormone, which promotes the tumor’s growth.

Women in their reproductive age are most likely to be affected by fibroids.

Other risk factors may include:

  • Family history of fibroids
  • Obesity
  • Diet high in red meat
  • High blood pressure

Black women are more likely to develop fibroids than other women, they are diagnosed at younger ages, and more often require treatment. It is not understood why they are disproportionately affected. Bleeding and symptoms associated with UF tend to improve with menopause, suggesting that the persistence of UF depends on hormonal status. There is also a hereditary component, first degree relatives of women affected by UF having a 2.5 fold higher risk of developing UF.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

What are the Symptoms?

While some women with fibroids may not experience any noticeable symptoms, others commonly experience severe symptoms that interfere with their daily lives, such as:

  • Heavy or prolonged periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Abdominal discomfort and/or fullness
  • Pelvic pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Bladder symptoms, such as frequent urination or difficulty emptying the bladder
  • Bowel symptoms, such as constipation or excessive straining with bowel movements

Women with fibroids can also experience:

  • Infertility
  • Complications during pregnan

How are they Diagnosed?

Fibroids are most often found during a routine pelvic exam.

To diagnose uterine fibroids, your doctor may order one of the following tests:

  • Pelvic Ultrasound. The doctor can see the size, shape, and texture of the uterus and evaluate any growths.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Helps your provider determine the exact location and characteristics of fibroids.
  • Hysterosalpingography. This is a to determine if the fibroids have blocked your fallopian tubes.
  • Hysteroscopy. This is a visual exam of the canal


What about the Treatment options?

The traditional approach to UF management has been surgical. Hysterectomy remains the predominant intervention, with myomectomy an option for women desiring to maximize fertility. Uterine artery embolization (UAE) is a minimally-invasive and uterine-preserving procedure that has become an attractive therapeutic alternative over the last 20 years. Its effectiveness and safety profile have helped establish this technique as a viable option with minimal complications for women interested in retaining their uterus and avoiding invasive surgery.

Tell me more about Uterine Fibroid Embolization?

UFE is a minimally-invasive alternative and/or adjunctive therapy to hysterectomy or myomectomy. This procedure is performed in our office and requires no hospital stay and offers a shorter recovery. In this procedure, blood supply to the fibroid tumors is blocked, making them shrink.

During UFE, a catheter is inserted through a blood vessel in the groin or arm and guided by X-ray images to the blood vessels that feed the fibroids of the uterus. Tiny particles are then injected to stop blood flow to the fibroids. Once blood flow to the fibroids is blocked, patients return home while the fibroids shrink gradually over the next weeks and months.

Uterine fibroid embolization is a very effective procedure with an approximate success rate of 85%. Most individuals who undergo the procedure have a dramatic improvement in their symptoms and a decrease in size of their uterine fibroids. If menstruation has been heavy, it will usually return to a more normal flow after UFE.

Fibroid embolization is a minimally invasive therapy that does not require surgery or a hospital stay and lessens recovery time compared to other treatments.

Some final thoughts

What can I Expect Following Embolization?

There are no restrictions after the procedure. It typically takes a week to 10 days to recover from embolization. In the first few days, pelvic pain and pressure from the procedure can be present. Fevers, chills, and decreased energy levels such as you would experience with a cold or flu can also be present. Your vascular surgeon will prescribe adequate pain, anti-inflammatory, and/or anti- nausea medication for use at home.

The first cycle following the procedure will frequently be heavier, with more discomfort than usual. Breakthrough bleeding in between menstrual cycles is common in the first few weeks. It typically takes 3 months for the benefits of the procedure to be appreciated, and the fibroids commonly continue to shrink for 6-9 months or longer.