Do you have painful arthritis in one or both of your knees?
If so, you need to talk to Dr. Sammy Masri about joint fluid replacement. Also known as visco supplementation, this non-surgical treatment for knee arthritis can decrease your pain and improve your mobility. Many people who want to delay knee replacement surgery or who are not candidates for surgery can benefit from this procedure.
What is viscosupplementation?
Your knee contains a joint fluid called synovial fluid. Within the joint fluid is a protein called hyaluronate (also called hyaluronic acid or hyaluronan), which helps lubricate and cushion the joint. Hyaluronic acid also has an anti-inflammatory effect and stimulates your body to make more of its own hyaluronate.
When your knee joint begins to degenerate and develop arthritis, the hyaluronate breaks down, decreasing the natural lubrication and cushioning it normally provides. Viscosupplementation is an injection of hyaluronic acid administered directly into the knee joint to restore the cushioning and lubricating properties of healthy joint fluid.
How many injections will I need?
Depending on the product used, viscosupplementation injections are typically given once a week for 3 to 5 weeks. There are currently five hyaluronate products available in the United States:
What are the benefits of viscosupplementation and how long do they last?
Most patients experience significant pain relief from joint fluid replacement injections, along with increased range of motion. It’s important to note that the pain relief is gradual, sometimes taking from 4 to 6 weeks to reach its maximum effect. After that, pain relief may last from 6 months to a year or more. Dr. Masri can repeat the injections every 6 months or as needed.
Is it safe and are there any side effects?
Visco supplementation was approved by the FDA in 1997 and is a safe, quick, and effective procedure performed in our office. Most patients do not experience any side effects. If they do occur, side effects may include a local reaction to the injection, pain, swelling, redness, or bruising, usually resolving on their own in a few days.
After each injection, we recommend that you avoid excessive activity for 48 hours and ice the knee for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. We also recommended physical therapy and a home exercise program after the injections. Physical therapy can help strengthen the knee and prolong the effectiveness of the injections.
Don’t live another day in pain. If your knee arthritis has not responded to more conservative therapies such as weight loss, activity modification, physical therapy, cortisone injections, or over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen or anti-inflammatories, you might be a candidate for joint fluid replacement.