Viscosupplementation for Knee Arthritis
Viscosupplementation is an injection of hyaluronic acid into the knee joint.
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial (joint) fluid.
It acts as a
- Lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint loads
When osteoarthritis occurs there is a lower concentration of hyaluronic acid in the joint.
Effects of Viscosupplementation
Viscosupplementation has been shown to relieve pain in many patients who cannot get relief from other drugs.
Several preparations of hyaluronic acid are available.
- Hyaluronic acid does not have an immediate pain-relieving effect
- You may notice a local reaction, such as pain, warmth, and slight swelling immediately after the shot. These symptoms generally do not last long. You may want to apply an ice pack to help ease them
- For the first 48 hours after the shot, you should avoid excessive weightbearing on the leg, such as standing for long periods, jogging or heavy lifting
Longer Term Effects
- Less pain in your knee
- The injection may stimulate the body to produce more of its own hyaluronic acid
- The length of time the injection lasts is variable. Effects can last for several months. It seems that it lasts longer than steroid injections
Synvisc One is a new one injection product.
- Viscosupplementation can be helpful for people whose arthritis has not responded to basic treatments
- It is most effective if the arthritis is in its early stages (mild to moderate)
- Some patients may feel pain at the injection site, and occasionally the injections result in increased swelling
- The long-term efficacy of viscosupplementation is not yet known and research continues in this area
- The injections can be costly. (about $500 - some private heath fund will give part rebate of this cost)
If your arthritis is not responding well or if you are trying to delay surgery, please speak to me about this option.