Knee osteoarthritis is affecting around 20% of adults older than 45 years in the U.S. alone. Although there is no cure available for knee osteoarthritis, you can take advantage of some treatment options available for helping people stay active by managing their knee pain. One of the effective treatment options available is knee Viscosupplementation. It is a medical procedure that involves the injection of a gel-like fluid known as hyaluronic acid inside the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid is a lubricant and it occurs naturally. The lubricant facilitates smooth joint movement. This acid is found to be in lower concentration in the patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
Who is eligible for Viscosupplementation?
The patients suffering from osteoarthritis who are not displaying improvement in mobility or reduction in pain with the use of non-surgical treatments such as pain relievers and physical therapy are the candidates for knee Viscosupplementation. The treatment may not be useful for the patients that have already developed knee joint infection, bleeding disorders, and some skin diseases.
Hyaluronic acid can be found naturally in synovial fluid and works as a shock absorber apart from acting as a lubricant for the knee joints. It reduces the energy forces transmitted to the knee. When the doctors analyzing synovial fluid levels in a patient suffering from knee osteoarthritis find depolymerized HA, increased joint clearance of HA, overall reduced viscosity of the synovial fluid, and reduced molecular weight of the HA, they may opt for knee Viscosupplementation.
The knee Viscosupplementation procedure goes over a few weeks. During this period the suffering patients get one to five hyaluronic acid shots. If there is swelling during the procedure the doctor working on the procedure removes the excess fluid before the injection of hyaluronic fluid. Keep in mind to stay away from heavy lifting, jogging, and standing for long periods after you have been injected. The HA injections help the knee joint by supplementing the naturally occurring hyaluronic acid and improving the capability of the knee to absorb shocks. Knee joint lubrication is also improved by the procedure.
Many people taking this treatment report improvement in pain relief after the three to five-week course involving HA injections while some patients take a longer time to find improvement. Several patients have reported that the best pain relief is achieved 8 to 12 weeks after the commencement of the treatment. The extent of pain relief varies with the patient. Although you might notice pain, warmth, or slight local swelling after the injection there are no major side effects involved in the procedure. Most of these symptoms do not last for long and can be easily treated by using ice packs.
Advantages over knee replacement surgery
There was significant evidence found in a study published in 2015 that concluded that it is possible to avoid knee replacement surgery by using Viscosupplementation. Patients that were injected HA after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis were able to delay their knee surgery. The Viscosupplementation procedure allows you to delay knee surgery by more than a year if you have taken one injection. Those who take five or more injections can delay this surgery by more than three years.
Keep in mind that although surgery seems like a normal and long-lasting alternative there are risks involved in the operation such as those associated with major surgery. There is a risk of complications and infection while using anesthesia and loss of movements. The prosthetic used for knee replacement may not align properly making it tough to bend the knees.
When the Viscosupplementation treatment is successful it provides relief to knee pain. You can repeat the procedures of providing injections repeatedly. Some recent studies have also found evidence of the HA fluid providing chondroprotection to the patients. If you are looking to get the knee Viscosupplementation procedure done in Tampa, FL area you can get in touch with Genesis Medical Clinic.
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