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Healthy joints contain synovial fluid. This fluid lubricates and provides nutrients to the joints. One change that happens with OA is the synovial fluid becomes thinner and less useful as a lubricant for the joint.
With viscosupplementation, hyaluronic acid, which is found in synovial fluid, is injected into the knee joint. This makes the synovial fluid act as a better lubricant. It is hoped that this will reduce pain and improve function of the joint. In some cases, getting this injection may help to postpone surgery on the knee joint.
Viscosupplementation may be a good option if you have tried other types of treatment (eg, medicines, physical therapy) and these have failed.
Before getting this injection, your doctor will most likely have you try many other ways to treat OA, such as:
Taking pain medicines
Getting injections of corticosteroids
Doing physical therapy
If these methods are not helpful, then viscosupplementation may be a good option for you. Before the injection, your doctor may:
done to determine the severity of your OA
Ask you if you have any allergies (eg, chicken allergy) to the ingredients in the hyaluronic acid product
If you are taking any prescription medicines, over-the-counter products, or herbs and supplements, talk to your doctor. There could be an interaction with the injection.
Description of the Procedure
First, your doctor will clean the skin where the needle will be inserted. A local anesthetic may be applied to numb the area. If you have swelling in the knee joint, the doctor will use a needle to remove the excess fluid. Next, a needle will be used to inject the hyaluronic acid into the joint. If needed, both knees can be done at the same appointment.
While your schedule for receiving injections will vary depending on the brand, you may have a cycle of three injections (eg, on days 1, 8, and 15) or just one. You may need to go through injections more than once. In some cases, it can relieve pain for months to years.
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