If you’re living with knee arthritis and conservative treatments no longer provide you with adequate relief, don’t be too quick to consider knee replacement surgery. There is a minimally invasive alternative that has been shown to effectively alleviate the pain and slow down the progression of your arthritis, protecting your knee from further damage – viscosupplementation.
Here are some of the questions you want to ask your orthopedic doctor about this innovative treatment approach:
Q: What Is Viscosupplementation?
Viscosupplementation is aimed at supplementing the fluid (hyaluronic acid) already present in your joints. By adding to the body’s natural supply of this vital fluid, viscosupplementation provides effective pain relief and improves joint mobility.
During the treatment procedure, your doctor sterilizes the affected area in your knee and numbs it using lidocaine. Your orthopedic doctor may use image guidance to ensure the fluid is administered into the precise location.
If excess fluid is present in your knee, your orthopedic doctor may remove some of it beforehand. Your doctor then injects the hyaluronic acid into the joint space. Once done, your doctor applies a small bandage to the injection site.
Q: Is Viscosupplementation Effective?
Clinical studies indicate that ongoing viscosupplementation injections can reduce the likelihood of future knee replacement surgery. One particular study involving more than 182,000 patients that had total knee replacement surgery found that those who had one hyaluronic acid injection after being diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee were able to delay their knee surgery by 1.4 years, while those without an injection had to undergo surgery within 114 days of their diagnosis. Those who had five or more injections were able to delay surgery by an average of 3.6 years.
Q: How Quickly Does Viscosupplementation Work?
Following your viscosupplementation treatment, it is normal to feel some pain and swelling in the knee – which can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication, elevation, and ice – for up to three days. Thereafter, however, as the treatment starts to work, you can expect remarkable pain relief.
You can perform light activities following your treatment; you should avoid strenuous movements that involve your knee, such as heavy lifting or running.
Q: Why Would I Choose Viscosupplementation Over Knee Replacement Surgery?
Although knee replacement surgery is a longer-lasting option for chronic knee pain, it has considerable risks inherent in any type of surgical procedure. These include the following:
- Reactions to anesthesia
- Stiffness and loss of motion
- Implant failure
With viscosupplementation injections, on the other hand, risks are minor and rare. These include flare-up of arthritic pain immediately following the injection, pain at the injection site, infection, or an allergic reaction.
Q: Who Is a Good Candidate for Viscosupplementation?
If you are allergic to cortisone injections or if cortisone shots no longer relieve your pain, you may be a suitable candidate for viscosupplementation.
Your orthopedic doctor will thoroughly assess your condition to determine your eligibility for this treatment option.
Orthopedic Doctor Near Me in Little Rock, Arkansas
If joint pain is preventing you from doing the things you enjoy or interfering with your everyday activities, call Little Rock knee surgeon Dr. William Hefley to find out if viscosupplementation is a suitable treatment for you.
Dr. Hefley has helped countless patients regain their normal function and get back to doing the things they love regardless of the complexity of their musculoskeletal problem, so you can rest assured that you’re in capable hands!