Viscosupplements are a safe and effective way to treat arthritis
in the knee and other joints
Osteoarthritis is a complex condition which begins with softening and breakdown of the joint cartilage. As the cartilage becomes more worn and less able to do it's job the rest of the joint suffers too - leading eventually to problems with the bones and the synovial fluid, the oily liquid that fills our joints providing lubrication and support.
New research on what causes the cartilage to deteriorate has shown that injections of viscosupplementation fluid can help to slow the wear and tear in the joint - and by doing this can reduce pain and improve function.
Synovial fluid is rich in a chemical called Hyalan or Hyaluronic Acid and it is this that is replaced by viscosupplement injections.
Common products used include:
Synvisc Injection or Hyalgan GF-20, Ostenil, Suplasyn injection, Supartz injections, Neovisc, Euflexxa and (new in the UK) Synopsis for knee joint injections.
The injections are given several times over the course of two or three months and have been shown to be both safe and effective.
Scientists used to think that the viscosupplementation was simply replacing the missing oil from the joints but newer evidence suggests that more than this is going on. The injected hyalan might actually be reducing inflammation by interfering with the chemical breakdown pathways in the cartilage cells.
Doctor Cameron has extensive experience of using these treatments in the treatment of arthritis. They are safe, effective in many cases and almost completely free of side effects. Some people experience a transient flare reaction but this is not common overall.
If you think you would like to know more about this kind of treatment then explore the other pages on this site or book an initial consultation with Doctor Cameron to see if you might be someone who could benefit from viscosupplementation injections. The best research is available in the treatment of knee arthritis but other joints can also benefit.
You can read more about the specific products used for this kind of treatment by following the links below:
Supartz - supartz injections are a hyaluronic acid replacement therapy - usually given once each week for five weeks in total. The frequency of administration means that supartz is sometimes less widely used than some of the other hyaluronic acid derivatives for knee arthritis. Supartz was however the first hyalan supplement that became available and has been in use for more than twenty years worldwide
Euflexxa differs from some of the other hyaluronic acid injections in that it is not extracted from avian or bird (chicken) collagen. It is manufactured by a different method and is given for a course of three injections with one Euflexxa injection each week.
Ostenil is another manufactured version of hyaluronic acid. It is derived from bacteria protein using a highly sophisticated process. There is no bird protein in either ostenil or euflexxa.
There are other hyaluronate products available but the ones above are the most commonly used. In years gone bye - because of the way the hyaluronic acic was obtained - these injections were sometimes called Rooster Comb Injections - but new technology has made that term thankfully obsolete.