What is Viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation refers to the injection of exogenous hyaluronic acid into the joint. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance present in the joint fluid that assists in lubrication. It allows the smooth movement of the cartilage-covered articulating surfaces of the joint.
Indications of Viscosupplementation
It is indicated in the management of shoulder, knee, hip and ankle osteoarthritis that has not responded to non-surgical treatment options such as pain medications, physical therapy, and corticosteroid injections.
The product is injected directly into the joint, much like a corticosteroid injection, in order to replenish the diminished synovial fluid, thereby enhancing its lubricating properties. A single dose or a total of three separate doses, over several weeks, may be required for optimum benefit.
How does Viscosupplementation Work?
Hyaluronic acid works mechanically by providing joint lubrication and assisting in weight distribution. It also works biomechanically by decreasing inflammation and stimulates the function of healthy chondrocytes and synoviocytes. This provides gradual symptomatic relief over the course of the injections. This effect may last for several months.
Post-procedural Care Following Viscosupplementation
Ice packs and an analgesic may be used, if required, to ease any discomfort experienced after the injection. Any strenuous activity such as jogging or sports should be completely avoided for 48 hours to a week after the injection and should be resumed only after consultation with your doctor.
Risks and Complications of Viscosupplementation
You may experience mild pain, swelling, warmth, and redness at the injection site for up to 48 hours following an injection. Headache and joint stiffness may also occur in some cases.
Immediately consult your doctor if you develop fever, or the pain and swelling fail to resolve after 48 hours following the injection.