Unlike other conditions that occur in the knee and can cause infrequent pain, osteoarthritis is a degenerative disorder that causes a large amount of pain and discomfort. This condition affects the joints in your knees and the joints can become weak, painful and difficult to perform desired activities.
Osteoarthritis occurs when there is damage to the cartilage of the knee. The cartilage protects the bones in the knees from rubbing together, but when it is damaged, the bones may start to rub together, causing friction and damage to the joint and the surrounding tissues.
When you have knee osteoarthritis, viscosupplementation is often an effective method used to treat the condition. This process involves injecting something called “hyaluronate” into the joint area of the knee.
Reason for Treatment
This type of treatment method is generally used when other forms of treatment have proven to be ineffective for you. Some other treatments include physical therapy, heat application, anti-inflammatory medicines, or steroids. When all treatments have failed to provide relief, viscosupplementation is often the treatment of choice.
The injection contains hyaluronic acid, which is the same substance that makes up one’s synovial joint fluid. The HA lubricates the joint surfaces and helps protect the knee cartilage.
The viscosupplementation procedure involves a Beverly Hills orthopedic doctor taking a needle that is filled with the hyaluronate fluid and injecting this fluid into the knee joint. While there are no cures for osteoarthritis, the fluid works to create a lubricant, which will help stop the bones from rubbing together, and can often ease the pain that occurs with this condition. Theoretically the hyaluronic acid also promotes the knee to make more cartilage, although this has not definitively been proven.
Depending on the severity of your condition, you’ll receive three to five injections, which are given to you one week apart. Some patients claim to have immediate relief from the pain after the first injection, while others have stated that they received relief from the pain over the course of several weeks. Some patients have also reported feeling no relief at all, so each case is taken on an individual basis. Studies have shown a 65% good to excellent results with pain relief for upwards of a year.
For people who have success with the injections, they are generally able to improve their level of mobility and take part in more activities throughout the day. Recovery from the injections is quick. There is a small risk of infection, and there have also been reports of a pseudoinfection occurring which looks like one but is really on an inflammatory reaction.
If the injections are successful, your Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon may repeat the process. The length of time between injections depends on your success, as some people have had relief from pain for up to 12 months after receiving viscosupplementation therapy.