Is Viscosupplementation for me?
If you have been told you have osteoarthritis particularly of the knee, you may be the ideal candidate for viscosupplementation treatment. This treatment is frequently used by our Sport and Exercise Physicians and when prescribed as part of a tailored management plan we see effective results for patients in all stages of osteoarthritis, please book a consultation to assess your suitability for this treatment.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the progressive degeneration of the cartilage covering the ends of the bones in joints. A healthy joint is lubricated by synovial fluid, which reduces friction between the surfaces. Gradual ‘wear and tear’ on your joints can cause this cartilage to break down, and the synovial fluid becomes ineffective at lubricating the knee. This can cause areas of cartilage covering the bones to totally wear away, exposing the underlying bone and causing them to rub against each other. Symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking or swelling in the affected joints.
What is viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation is a gel-like product (hylan G-F 20) containing properties like the natural hyaluronic acid found in healthy synovial fluid.
How does it work?
6mL of viscosupplementation gel is injected into the knee joint. This substance acts as a lubricant for the knee, replacing the diseased synovial fluid, which was ineffective in protecting the knee. This helps to increase the knee’s ability to absorb shocks and reduce pain, while also improving mobility.
Benefits of viscosupplementation?
- A single 6mL injection can provide pain relief in the knee for up to 6 months
- Short term studies have found viscosupplementation to significantly improve pain on weight-bearing, pain at night, and overall knee function
- More effective if the affected knee is regularly used
- Can be beneficial for patients in all stages of osteoarthritis
- Minimal side effects
Recommendations and side effects
- Ask somebody to drive you home and rest for 24 hours
- Ice the knee for 2-3 hours
- Avoid excessive activity for 48 hours after the injection
- Inform your doctor if you have an allergy to birds, feathers or eggs
- Rarely are there systemic adverse reactions to viscosupplementation possible side effects include;
- Local pain and swelling, which usually ease within a few days
- Complications related to the procedure e.g. infection at wound site