What is Viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation is an injection that supplements the fluid in your knee to help lubricate and cushion the joint, and can provide good pain relief from osteoarthritis. It may delay the need for surgery such as joint replacement.
Why is Viscosupplementation helpful?
Healthy knees contain a joint fluid called synovial fluid. This fluid works as a lubricant and shock absorber, and is needed for normal joint function.
In knees with Osteoarthritis, the synovial fluid can breakdown. The depleted joint fluid is then unable to protect your knee cartilage leading to further damage to the joint.
Viscosupplementation replaces the depleted synovial fluid. This can help relieve the pain and restore the knee joints function and shock absorbing capabilities.
What is the Viscosupplement made from?
The injection contains a gel-like substance called Hyaluronic Acid. This material has a very high molecular weight, making it very viscous and allowing it to lubricate and assist with the shock absorbing function of the joint.
Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in your body, in high amounts in a normal knee joint as it is needed for healthy joint function.
How is Viscosupplementation given?
Viscosupplementation is given as a single dose treatment. Your doctor injects the gel directly into your knee joint.
Who can perform Viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation is usually administered by a specialist trained in treating arthritis, such as an Orthopaedic surgeon.
What are the side effects of viscosupplementation injections?
Some reported side effects associated with the injection are temporary injection-site pain; swelling, heat, or redness; rash and itching; bruising around the joint; and fluid accumulation in the injected knee. These reactions are usually mild and don’t last long. As with steroid injections, infection and bleeding are also rare complications.
The safety profile of Viscosupplementation is about 99% if done with proper technique by a trained specialist and in a sterile manner.
How do I know if I need Viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation is effective for people with mild to moderate arthritis (link to arthritis page) who have not enough pain relief from diet, exercise, and oral pain medications.
Talk to your doctor about viscosupplementation if you have osteoarthritis and have not found pain relief from other means such as exercise, physical therapy, weight loss, use of heat and cold, use of a cane or other product that relieves pressure on the knee, use of pain relievers, or steroid injections.