The joint pain that arthritis causes typically worsens over time, and you may reach a point where the treatments that used to work become ineffective. If your joints are deteriorating, double board-certified pain management specialist Glenn Flanagan, MD, of Naples Regenerative Institute in Naples, Florida, can help. Dr. Flanagan uses viscosupplementation – injections of hyaluronic acid into the joint – to relieve the symptoms of arthritis. To see if you could benefit from viscosupplementation, call Naples Regenerative Institute today or book an appointment online.
Viscosupplementation is a treatment in which Dr. Flanagan injects hyaluronic acid into your joints – a thick, lubricating fluid that can help reduce pain and swelling. The treatment is also known as “rooster comb” injections, as this was the initial source of hyaluronic acid used for these treatments. Today, we have more sophisticated synthetic viscosupplement gel to use.
The bones in your joints have cartilage on their ends to help the bones slide smoothly over each other when you move. The cartilage also has a coating of fluid that contains hyaluronic acid. This natural lubricant encourages free joint movement and acts as a shock absorber.
If you develop osteoarthritis, the cartilage breaks down and wears away. As a result, the bones in your joint start scraping against each other instead of sliding painlessly. When this happens, you’re likely to have less hyaluronic acid in your joints as well, which contributes to the pain, stiffness, and deterioration in function typical of osteoarthritis.
Viscosupplementation replaces the lost hyaluronic acid to help reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
Dr. Flanagan might suggest viscosupplementation if other treatments for osteoarthritis are no longer effective. Arthritis is incurable, but the symptoms are highly treatable. While numerous studies have shown that platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and bone marrow concentrate with stem cells provide better relief than viscosupplements, it is an effective treatment covered by most major insurances.
Viscosupplementation is a safe treatment that helps some patients delay the need for surgery or even avoid it altogether. While its main use is treating osteoarthritis, you might find viscosupplementation beneficial if you have another form of the disease, like rheumatoid arthritis.
Most patients have viscosupplementation treatment for knee arthritis, but it’s possible to use the technique in other joints like your hips.
Viscosupplementation is an outpatient procedure at Naples Regenerative Institute. First, Dr. Flanagan injects a local anesthetic into the space around the knee joint. He might also drain excess fluid that’s making the joint swell.
Next, Dr. Flanagan injects the hyaluronic acid into the joint space using image guidance technology to ensure optimal accuracy. After your viscosupplementation treatment, you can go home. You might need a series of injections to achieve noticeable pain relief.
If your arthritis is becoming increasingly painful and your joints are getting stiffer, viscosupplementation could be a worthwhile treatment. To find out about the range of therapies available for arthritis at Naples Regenerative Institute, call their office or book an appointment online today.