Osteoarthritis in the knees can cause debilitating pain and reduced movement. At Oregon Medical Centers, Dr. Sunita Bhasin, DC, and her team specialize in state-of-the-art regenerative medicine techniques to treat musculoskeletal pain and injuries - like pain from osteoarthritis. Traditional treatment methods such as pain medication, exercise, and physical therapy, do not always provide enough relief. Viscosupplementation injections are administered to the joint to help reduce the pain, swelling, and reduced movement experienced with osteoarthritis.
What is Viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation therapy refers to the injection of a hyaluronan preparation into the joint. People with osteoarthritis are often found to have less hyaluronic acid in their joints than usual, and the cartilage also begins to wear away. Hyaluronic acid is a natural lubricant that cushions the joints and helps the joint to move smoothly. When there is reduced fluid, and less protection from cartilage, the bones of the joint are more likely to rub together, causing damage, pain, and swelling.
This thick hyaluronan fluid injected through viscosupplementation may help reduce pain and swelling in the arthritic knee joint. The theory is that it replaces the lack of hyaluronic acid in the joint from osteoarthritis, providing relief for people who do not respond to conventional treatments.
The Benefits of Viscosupplementation
Research studies suggest that viscosupplementation therapy is most effective in people with mild or moderate arthritis. If you have significant pain, discomfort, and reduced movement from osteoarthritis, despite accessing pain killers, exercise, and physical therapy, then viscosupplementation might be a positive treatment choice.
Benefits of viscosupplementation injections include:
- Pain relief
- Less requirement to take pain medication
- Reduced joint inflammation
- Improved movement and function of the joint
- Joint specific treatment - therefore, it does not impact the rest of the body.
- Can delay the need for surgery or act as an interim intervention if surgery is not possible
- A very minimally invasive procedure with a short recovery time
What Does the Procedure Involve?
The medical staff at Oregon Medical Centers will give you a thorough consultation to decide if viscosupplementation therapy is the best treatment option for you. If viscosupplementation injections are the right choice for your medical needs, then the procedure is quick and straightforward:
- Cleaning and preparation of the injection site is the first step
- A local anesthetic is applied to numb any pain during the treatment
- The injection is then administered directly into the knee joint adding hyaluronic acid into the joint space
- Your doctor may need to remove extra fluid from the joint before administering the viscosupplementation injection, but this is assessed in each individual case
- After the injection, it is advised to avoid standing or exercising for long periods over the following 48 hours
- It is normal to feel some mild discomfort at the injection site, and your doctor will provide you with aftercare instructions.
It is likely to feel pain relief shortly after the procedure as the added lubrication will give your joint freedom of movement with less pain. If viscosupplementation is effective for you, you may be able to repeat the viscosupplementation injection (or series of injections) in approximately six months.
Is Viscosupplementation Therapy the Right Treatment Option for Me?
If you are concerned about knee pain due to osteoarthritis, why not book an appointment at Oregon Medical Centers? Our experienced medical team can offer a full assessment and advise on the right, individual treatment plan for your needs. Call us in Salem at 503-390-1552 or in Aloha at 503-642-2845 or request an appointment