For many people who suffer from chronic joint pain, the thought of joint surgery – especially joint replacement – can be overwhelming. Even though materials and procedures used in prosthetic joint surgery have come a long way in recent years, the possibility of needing revision surgery in the future (to replace the prosthetic materials in the joint) definitely exists, especially for younger patients.
Therefore, to achieve pain relief while avoiding surgery altogether, a patient can opt for less-invasive measures. One way to treat joint pain without surgical intervention is with medical ultrasound-guided injections of hyaluronate (viscosupplementation) or cortisone.
How Do Injections Treat Joint Pain?
In a doctor’s office, patients either sit or lie down on a table. The orthopedist will use an ultrasound imaging device to guide the injection to the center of the joint in order to ensure maximum effectiveness.
The site is first prepared for injection with a local anesthetic. The process is not painful, and it can offer nearly instant relief from chronic, troubling joint pain.
The benefit of this over oral steroids is that the ultrasound confirms the specific location receiving the treatment. By injecting the medicine directly into the joint, a high dose is delivered directly to the area needed – rather than hoping enough of the medication manages to reach the site of the injury.
Why Is Ultrasound Guidance Beneficial?
By using imaging equipment, the doctor can safely guarantee precisely where the injection goes, increasing its effectiveness. It also helps to reduce the possibility of damage to any surrounding tissues or structures.
The use of ultrasound rather than MRI/CT scans (which would require contrast dye in the veins) or X-ray (which exposes the patient to ionizing radiation) imposes less risk of reaction to the patient. Ultrasound is therefore much preferred.
What Is the Procedure Like?
Frequently done to treat pain in the shoulders and knees, the ultrasound-guided injections are performed during a regular in-office visit. There is no anesthesia, and patients can drive to and from the procedure.
There is no preparation needed, as these are done while the patient is awake. By the time the patient arrives home, a noticeable reduction in the level of pain is usually already felt.
Conditions Treated with Ultrasound-Guided Injections
These injections work well for people who have:
- Inflamed tendons in the shoulder, knees, hands, or wrists
- Other inflammation
Depending on the pain levels a patient is experiencing, targeted injections can relieve pain for weeks or even months at a time. They can also be done in conjunction with or in lieu of medications.
These injections can reduce inflammation while preserving the structures and function within the joint. Injections can be repeated on a limited basis; repeating them more than four times a year can cause damage to surrounding tissues.
Pain Relief Doctor in Arkansas
If you have chronic pain from an injury or due to a chronic disease, guided injections can help tremendously. If you would like to learn more, contact our offices at Bowen Hefley Orthopedics.
Call our medical team today at (800) 336-2412 or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to helping you feel the benefits!