Another widely used treatment option osteoarthritis pain management is a procedure called viscosupplementation injection. If your pain continues to limit your activities, viscosupplementation may be an option.
In this procedure, a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid is injected into the joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial fluid surrounding joints. It acts as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint loads. People with osteoarthritis have a lower than normal concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joints. The theory is that adding hyaluronic acid to the arthritic joint will facilitate movement and reduce pain.
The most recent research, however, has not found viscosupplementation to be effective at significantly reducing pain or improving function in the long term but it certainly is a good option for the short term, up to about 6 months. Although most patients report pain relief with the procedure, some people are not helped by the injections.
Although some patients have reported a major difference and relief of arthritis symptoms with viscosupplementation, the procedure has never shown to reverse the arthritic process or re-grow cartilage.
The effectiveness of viscosupplementation in treating arthritis is still under research. It has been proposed that this process is most effective if the arthritis is in its early stages (mild to moderate), but more research is needed to support this.
There are a range of treatment options available at The Regenerative Therapy Centre and we would be delighted to discuss which would be the most appropriate for you, Please click on the Get in Touch button and our friendly and responsive team will be delighted to chat.
What is Viscosupplementation
Viscosupplementation is another widely used treatment optioin in osteoarthritis pain management,.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance present in the synovial fluid of your joints. In your knees, synovial fluid, a thick gel-like liquid, helps cushion your joint and absorb the shock of walking, running, twisting, and turning. People with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee have lower levels of hyaluronic acid in their synovial fluid. Therefore, their joints are less “greased” and less able to protect the bones and cartilage from damage and destruction. Viscosupplementation, a popular treatment for OA of the knee, injects hyaluronic acid (also called hyaluron and hyaluronate) into the affected knee in order to hopefully return some mobility to the joint
When should I have Viscosupplementation treatment?
Viscosupplementation is usually reserved until other conservative treatment options have been tried and have not relieved your pain, A single concentratated injectionor a course of 3 to 5 injections may be required.
When can I expect to feel relief from my Viscosupplementation procedure?
Most patients have improved pain relief and function following the injections, but some patients will not be helped by viscosupplementation as mentioned above. For those patients who report pain relief with the procedure, it could possibly take a few weeks or months to notice a significant improvement. How long the effects last vary on several factors like diet, exercises, and external factors. Some patients report pain relieving effects for several months following the injections.
How is Viscosupplementation carried out?
Viscosupplementation is regularly carried out by our team of experts in an outpatient setting at our Regenerative Therapy Centre. This consists of a patient receiving one or 3 injections over several weeks.
The procedure begins by understanding and assessing damage in the joint, if there is any sort of swelling and inflammation in the joint involved. Once the diagnosis is made and you are suitable for the injection, this is carried out in the clinic. Following the injection, you will be asked to avoid excessive weight bearing on the leg, standing for longer durations, heavy lifting or jogging. You will need to be in a relaxed state but can continue with daily activities for the first 48 hours.
Are there any risks/side effects with an Viscosupplementation injection?
Some patients witness a local reaction, such as pain, slight swelling or warmth immediately after the injections. These symptoms generally subside over a few hours and do not tend to cause any problem. An ice pack application on the knee generally is known to help and ease the pain.
In rare scenarios, some patients may develop a local allergy-like reaction in the knee. In these cases, the knee tends to become full of fluid, red, warm, and painful. In such circumstances, you should call your consultant to give you further instructions. Some other rare conditions such as infection and bleeding can occur after the procedure.
Can I have repeat Viscosupplementation injections?
If the injections are effective they may be repeated after a period of time, usually every 6 months.
Post Treatment Care
Routine follow up appointment at 3 months with ongoing support and care for your condition through our helpline and clinic.
If you have had a good response to the Viscosupplementation injection it can be repeated again in 6 to 8 months time.