Hyaluronic Acid Knee Injections

FAQs on Hyaluronic Acid injections for Joint Pain (Synvisc) in San Diego

In the 1940s, Hungarian scientist Endre Balasz suggested using hyaluronic acid injections to treat knee arthritis. In 1997, the FDA approved the use of this viscosupplement product for the treatment of arthritis of the knee joint.

 

What are the commonly used brands of hyaluronic acid injections?

 

The most common brands of hyaluronic acid include Sunvisc, Orthovisc, and Hyalgan. These products are chemically and structurally similar, just

manufactured by different companies.

 

What is hyaluronic acid?

 

Hyaluronic acid is a solution used to lubricate the knee joints. It is often referred to as the “motor oil” of the joints and helps the joint surfaces move with minimal friction in conjunction with the cartilage surfaces. It is a natural protein found in the synovial fluid.

 

How do hyaluronic acid injections work?

 

The cartilage between two bones helps form the joint and facilitate a smooth gliding motion. The joint must be lubricated by a viscous solution in the synovial fluid. With wear-and-tear and arthritis, cartilage wears away and the supply of lubricant decreases.

 

This produces pain and stiffness of the joint. Hyaluronic acid injections replace lost synovial fluid and relieve joint symptoms. Sorrento Valley Pain Relief offers Synvisc injections in San Diego.

 

What conditions are treated with hyaluronic acid injections?

 

The FDA has approved hyaluronic acid injections for the treatment of osteoarthritis. This condition results in degeneration of cartilage and loss of synovial fluid. Pain from arthritis restricts knee mobility and causes disability.

 

When should I have a hyaluronic acid injection?

 

Patients diagnosed with mild to moderate degenerative arthritis will best benefit from hyaluronic acid injections. The procedure is often used for people who do not respond to medications, corticosteroid injections, physical therapy, and other treatments. For patients with severe or advanced arthritis, and those with complete cartilage damage, the procedure is not recommended.

 

How are hyaluronic acid injections given?

Once you sign a consent form, the doctor will clean the skin with an antiseptic. The skin over the joint area is numbed using a local anesthetic. This will feel like a slight pinch and mild burn. Once you are numb, the pain specialist will use fluoroscopic guidance to insert the needle into the joint, which helps avoid injury to the surrounding nerves and tissues. If necessary, excessive fluid is removed. The doctor then instills the solution. The entire procedure takes around 30 minutes to perform.

How many hyaluronic acid injections are required?

 

Depending on the extent of your symptoms and condition, 1-3 shots are usually given over a 3-6 month period. The doctor will spread the shots out, administering one per month or one every three months.

 

What precautions should I take following the hyaluronic acid injection?

 

After the injection, you must rest at home for the remainder of the day. Avoid putting excessive stress on the injected knee for 48 hours. You are not permitted to run, jog, lift weights, or engage in prolonged standing for 3-4 days, depending on your doctor’s recommendations. Take prescribed medication immediately after the injection for pain relief, and use ice packs to reduce inflammation.

 

What are the side effects of hyaluronic injections?

 

Right after the injection, you could experience slight increased pain and joint swelling. However, this resolves within 12-24 hours. Side effects rarely occur, but include burning, itching, tenderness, and muscle stiffness.

 

What are hyaluronic acid injections made of?

Hyaluronic acid is derived from chicken or rooster combs. Therefore, anyone with a poultry allergy should avoid these injections.

 

Do hyaluronic acid injections work?

 

The peak benefit of the hyaluronic acid injection is felt 1-2 weeks after the procedure. For many patients, the relief of pain lasts for 5-10 weeks. In a recent large review of clinical studies, results showed that hyaluronic acid injections significantly improved knee arthritis in the majority of participants.

 

One study found that these injections offered 55% reduction in pain scores and 32% improvement of knee mobility. The majority of clinical studies show that pain relief following multiple hyaluronic acid injections last for 6-12 months.

 

Resources

 

Briem K, Axe MJ, Snyder-Mackler L. Functional and perceived response to intra-articular hyaluronan injection in patients with knee osteoarthritis: persistence of treatment effects over 5 months. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2009 Jul. 17(7):763-9.

 

Miller Larry E. and Jon E. Block. US-Approved Intra-Articular Hyaluronic Acid Injections are Safe and Effective in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized, Saline-Controlled Trials. Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord. 2013; 6: 57–63.

 

Wen Y Dennis. Intra-articular Hyaluronic Acid Injections for Knee Osteoarthritis. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Aug 1;62(3):565-570.

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