Osteoarthritis of the knee involves the cartilage, ligaments, bone, and joint lining. This disease usually affects people age 40 and older, and there is currently no cure. Knee injections are used to treat the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, knee osteoarthritis affects 14% of adults aged 25 years and older, as well as around 33% of persons 65 years of age and older—an estimated 27 million Americans.
Stem Cell Therapy
Hyaluronic acid is a synthetic joint lubricant used to treat knee arthritis. Hyaluronan is a natural gel-like substance that is similar to normal joint fluid. Synvisc is the most popular joint lubricate on the market, but there are many others similar to it.
Also called viscosupplementation, there are many versions of hyaluronic acid. These include:
Orthovisc – High-molecular weight hyaluronan
Euflexxa – 1% sodium hyaluronate
Hyalgan – Sodium hyaluronate
Supartz – Sodium hyaluronate
Nuflexxa – 1% sodium hyaluronate
Hyaluronic acid is used to treat arthritis. The bones of the knee joint are lined with a special layer of cartilage, which serves as a shock-absorber for the joint and prevents friction. Arthritis can cause the cartilage to fray and thin, and there may be a loss of synovial fluid content and viscosity. Because of these joint changes, the knee bones rub together and are painful.
Synvisc injections improve cushioning and lubrication of the knee joint. In addition, these treatments allow cartilage and bones to move more smoothly, which prevents stiffness and pain. Hyaluronic acid can reduce inflammation, which contributes to cartilage degeneration. The overall effect of this procedure is to improve mobility, aid in functionality, and eliminate pain.
Synvisc is given in a once-weekly injection for three weeks. After six months, another course of injections can be given. With Synvisc-One, only one injection is given instead of a series of three.
Several clinical studies show that pain relief with Synvisc last for up to six months. A recent research study found that hyaluronic acid injections had a 75% success rate for treating osteoarthritis.
There are no serious side effects related to Synvisc or other hyaluronic acid products. However, a few patients report short-term increase in inflammation of the knee, which only occurs in 2-3% of cases and only last 2-4 days. In addition, most products are made from processed rooster combs, and are not to be used in people who have poultry or egg allergies. Other side effects include redness at the injection site, joint swelling, and mild pain.
As with any minimally invasive procedure, there are a few risks to consider. These include:
Hyaluronic acid is approved for knee osteoarthritis pain and associated symptoms. Anyone who has this type of arthritis is a candidate. The pain specialist makes the decision to inject the knee based on previous treatment failure, current health condition, and knee damage.