The knee is a crucial joint that enables essential activities like walking, running, and jumping. However, this integral body part is susceptible to health issues, including knee arthritis, which causes inflammation, pain, and stiffness. This ailment occurs when the protective cartilage in the knee wears down, affecting mobility and quality of life. Arthritis of the knee typically affects older individuals, as the risk increases with age due to the natural wear and tear of the knee joint. However, it can also impact overweight or obese individuals and those with certain genetic factors. Fortunately, diverse treatment options exist for Arthritis of the Knee, including viscosupplementation.
We are a Miami-based regenerative medicine and orthopedics facility led by the esteemed Dr. Alicia Carter, dedicated to providing superior patient care. With decades of combined experience, our highly skilled and compassionate team uses innovative treatments to address various orthopedic conditions, such as knee arthritis. Our state-of-the-art facility is equipped with cutting-edge technology, enabling us to provide top-notch regenerative therapies. Under Dr. Carter’s seasoned leadership, our ethos is rooted in utilizing the body’s inherent healing capabilities to restore function and alleviate pain.
What is Viscosupplementation?
This is a non-surgical treatment option for knee arthritis, offering a potential solution for those seeking pain relief without invasive procedures. Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance found in the joint’s synovial fluid. It acts as a lubricant, reducing friction and promoting smoother joint movement. People with arthritis of the knee have low natural hyaluronic acid levels, leading to increased pain and stiffness. Viscosupplementation aims to restore this balance by injecting hyaluronic acid directly into the knee.
Why Is Viscosupplementation a Good Choice?
1. It Is Minimally Invasive
The procedure does not involve surgery, substantial incisions, general anesthesia, or extended hospital stays, as is often the case with more invasive orthopedic surgeries like knee replacement. This translates to less post-procedure discomfort and quicker recovery times compared to surgical interventions. Furthermore, it can provide significant relief for patients who may not be suitable candidates for surgery due to age, weight, or other medical conditions.
2. It Is Tolerable
Viscosupplementation is typically well-tolerated, meaning most patients can undergo the procedure without significant adverse reactions or complications. The primary side effects are usually localized and temporary, most commonly mild pain, swelling, or discomfort at the injection site. These symptoms usually subside on their own within a few days following the procedure.
Allergic reactions to hyaluronic acid are also rare, given that it’s naturally present in the body. However, individuals with egg allergies may need to discuss alternatives with their healthcare provider, as some formulations of hyaluronic acid are derived from avian (bird) sources.
3. Provides Pain Relief
Many individuals with knee arthritis experience pain that significantly impacts their daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, or even sitting for extended periods. Viscosupplementation provides significant pain relief, thus improving quality of life and overall well-being. The duration and level of pain relief can vary among patients, and multiple injections may be necessary for optimal results. Additionally, compared to other pain management options, viscosupplementation carries fewer risks of side effects and can provide more targeted relief by acting directly on the joint.
4. Short Recovery Times
Unlike more invasive treatments, patients can often resume normal activities soon after receiving the viscosupplementation injections. Patients may experience mild discomfort or swelling at the injection site for a few days following the procedure, but this typically resolves on its own without the need for additional treatment.
This short recovery time associated with viscosupplementation is advantageous for those who lead active lifestyles or have work or family obligations that require them to return to normal activities quickly. It also means patients can receive repeat injections, if necessary, without needing an extended recovery period.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How Many Injections Will I Need for Viscosupplementation Treatment?
Typically, a course of viscosupplementation involves a series of three to five injections administered over several weeks or months. Some individuals may experience pain relief after a single injection, while others may require additional injections for optimal results. Healthcare providers work with patients to develop individualized treatment plans based on their unique needs and response to the injections.
2. How Soon Can I Expect Improvement After the Viscosupplementation Procedure?
The time it takes to see improvement after viscosupplementation treatment can vary depending on individual factors, such as the severity of knee arthritis and response to the injections. Some individuals may experience pain relief and improved mobility within a few days following the first injection, while others may require several weeks to notice significant improvement. It’s essential to follow the treatment plan outlined by your healthcare provider, including any post-procedure instructions, and to attend follow-up appointments to monitor progress.
3. How Long Does Each Viscosupplementation Session Take?
A typical viscosupplementation session usually takes around 15 to 30 minutes to complete. The procedure is done in an outpatient setting, and patients can go home on the same day. The injection is performed using a fine needle, with the hyaluronic acid being injected directly into the knee joint under ultrasound guidance. During the procedure, the patient may feel slight pressure or discomfort at the injection site, but it should not be painful. Following the injection, patients are advised to rest and avoid strenuous activities for a day or two.
4. Will Viscosupplementation Fully Cure My Knee Arthritis?
Viscosupplementation is not a cure for knee arthritis, but it can be an effective treatment option for managing symptoms and improving quality of life. Knee arthritis is a degenerative condition that involves the gradual wear of cartilage in the knee joint. While viscosupplementation can help reduce pain and improve mobility by restoring lubrication in the joint, it doesn’t stop the underlying degenerative process.
Arthritis of the knee is a condition that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. However, with the proper support and viscosupplementation treatments, individuals with knee arthritis can enjoy an improved quality of life and continued mobility. If you are suffering from knee arthritis or you know someone who is, kindly reach out to us. Our team of experienced professionals, spearheaded by Dr. Alicia Carter, will work with you to create personalized care and innovative treatment options. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and start your journey to improved joint health.