Embolization for chronic joint pain

Embolization for chronic joint pain

We are happy to take on a pioneering role in the treatment of chronic pain in joints and tendons: With joint embolization, we are currently the first and so far only hospital in Germany to offer this innovative procedure to our patients to significantly alleviate severe chronic joint pain.

For chronic joint pain and tendon disorders, conservative and surgical treatments do not always achieve a striking success. With transarterial periarticular embolization (TAPE), we are now offering a new way of therapy.

The exact cause of chronic joint pain has been a long standing mystery in medicine. There is increasing evidence that inappropriate biomechanical stress and recurrent inflammatory stimuli lead to the development of pathologic vessels on a capillary level. Simultaneously pathologic nerve endings form, transmitting the pain to the brain. These nerves are oftentimes less and sometimes not at all susceptible to pain medication. Therefore pain relief is often only possible to a limited extent.

Fig. 1: Picture of a shoulder artery. Cloudy contrast accumulations are depicted, which are an expression of an excessive vessle formation and increased blood flow in the joint.

Fig. 2: The control image after embolization now shows the contrast accumulations missing, which corresponds to the normal image of an artery in the shoulder.

Which conditions may be suitable for joint embolizations?

  • Patients with chronic pain due to activated osteoarthritis (degenerative changes, inflammation) of large joints such as the shoulder- or knee or small joints found in finger or foot joints
  • Patients with painful shoulder stiffness, also known as "frozen shoulder“
  • Patients with chronic tendon pain caused by sports or anatomical anomalies (e.g. tennis or golfer's elbow, patellar tip syndrome also known as jumper's knee, plantar fasciitis or inflammation of a heel spur)
  • Patients who do not benefit from physiotherapy, infiltration treatments or pain medications
  • Patients who suffer from atypical symptoms where no promising surgical treatments are available or patients with an increased surgical risk (e.g. patients taking blood thinners, patients whose heart, lung or kidney function is impaired or patients with diabetes)

The indication for a joint embolization requires and individual evaluation and depends on previous treatments, pain development and the existing vascular status. Treatment is carried out in close cooperation with the Department of Orthopaedics, Hand and Trauma Surgery. Our experts in interventional radiology will conduct the catheter-assisted intervention.

Our Experts

Prof. Katoh and Dr. Schott are available for consultation
Prof. Katoh and Dr. Schott are available for consultation