Viscosupplementation is a non-surgical procedure for patients suffering with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. Typically covered by insurance, this procedure can oftentimes help patients avoid knee replacement surgery.
What are Hyaluronic Acid – Viscosupplementation Injections?
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring substance found the human body. Hyaluronic acid is a type of viscous carbohydrate called a glycosaminoglycan, and ultimately a major component of the mechanism involving the natural protection and lubircation of the joints. Hyaluronic acid also maintains a smoothly operating joint as a form of lubrication and as cushioning to absorb the pressures of normal activity. It works as a repair agent and maintains the health and structure of joints to avoid friction, deterioration and development of arthritis. Hyaluronic acids used for medical injections are typically derived from rooster combs or grown by bacteria in laboratories. The substance is then injectied into the patient’s damaged knee or hip joint to provide smoother movement with less pain and increased ability to bear weight.
What is the Procedure for HA- Viscosupplementation Injections?
HA-viscosupplementation injection only takes a few minutes per session. Before performing the procedure Dr. Stavrakos will do an ultrasound guided evaluation of the joint and, after injection of a small amount of anesthetic, he may aspirate (remove by needle) any excess fluid in the joint (aka an effusion) that can be a source of pain and discomfort. This is followed by the actual HA-viscosupplementation injection; the needle is inserted carefully using ultrasound guidance technology to direct it to the target location. Dr. Stavrakos usually recommends relative rest and no strenuous activity of the treated area for at least 48 hours. The protocol for most HA-viscosupplementation injections is typically one injection a week for three weeks.
Why Choose HA-viscosupplementation Injections?
Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body to prevent further damage to the joint and recent evidence suggests it may slow the process of degenerative arthritis. A successful treatment with HA-Viscosupplementation should provide good to excellent symptom relief for six months to up to two years. It may further reduce or eliminate the need for chronic use of pain medications, most of which modern science is learning may have harmful long term-effects on patients’ health.