Viscosupplementation is a treatment option for arthritic joints that is FDA approved and is recognized by most insurance carriers. The treatment involves injecting a viscous substance that mimics natural joint fluid called “hyaluronic acid”. This provides a lubricant to “cushion” the joint surfaces resulting in pain reduction and improved function.
Common brands include Synvisc, Orthovisc, Supartz and Euflexxa. Injections are performed once a week for 3 consecutive weeks. Occasionally your doctor will recommend one mega dose or up to 5 weekly injections.
At the Orthohealing Center, all injections are performed under ultrasound guidance to ensure that the lubricant enters the joint and does not enter surrounding area, which could lead to increased pain, swelling, and lack benefit. If there is fluid seen in the knee under ultrasound, it is gently removed (see video) & replaced with the lubricant. Improvement can begin following the initial injection, although generally patients may have to wait between 5-12 weeks to determine if there has been an improvement. This injection series may be repeated in 6 months if it has been effective.
At The Orthohealing Center, this lubricating treatment may be offered for other arthritic joints such as the ankle, hip, shoulder, and wrist/ thumb. Also, these injections may be combined with Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy to maximize recovery.