About Viscosupplementation Injections
Viscosupplementation injections are commonly used for osteoarthritis in the knee. Osteoarthritis causes a breakdown of the cartilage in the knee, which can cause the bones to rub against each other, resulting in inflammation and pain. As the cartilage wears away, so does the naturally forming synovial fluid that helps lubricate the joints.
Viscosupplementation injections involve injecting this lubricating fluid, or hyaluronic acid, back into the joints. Injecting this fluid back into the knee can help improve knee movement, reduce pain and potentially slow the progression of the osteoarthritis. This procedure is generally recommended as part of a larger treatment plan for the overall osteoarthritis.
What to Expect From Viscosupplementation
During the procedure, approximately 2 ml of hyaluronic acid is injected via needle directly into the joint capsule of the knee. A healthy knee will have about 4 ml of hyaluronic acid. The additional fluid reduces pain by reducing the friction between the joints and bones and helps slow the degeneration of the joints as well. Some doctors also believe that these injections can help the body begin to produce additional hyaluronic acid on its own, though this is not always the case. This is a great alternative to a full knee replacement, and because it is relatively noninvasive, you can generally return to normal activities soon after the procedure. Generally, the treatments last for a few months or, even, years depending on the severity of the osteoarthritis.
Benefits and Risks of Viscosupplementation
The benefits of viscosupplementation injections are not felt immediately, but over time, you will begin to see a reduction of pain and increased ease of motion in the knee.
Viscosupplementation can also potentially reduce the spread of osteoarthritis by minimizing the degeneration of the joints. There are very few risks since this is a nonsurgical procedure, though some patients may experience mild discomfort, including mild swelling, skin warmth or redness, soreness or stiffness, immediately after the procedure.
Total Health and Peak Medical are holistic health centers that are dedicated to developing customized and comprehensive health and wellness plans for each patient.
Viscosupplementation injections are often used as part of a larger treatment plan that may involve physical therapy, acupuncture and nutritional planning.