Viscosupplementation: Why It’s A Safe Alternative to Knee Replacement
The Arthritis Foundation reports that osteoarthritis affects approximately 27 million people in America. This degenerative disease can cause chronic pain, often causing sufferers to seek knee replacement surgery to help relieve its symptoms. But surgery is not without adverse side effects. And that’s why innovative treatments for joint pain–like viscosupplementatio–are gaining traction throughout the medical community today.
What is Viscosupplementation?
Wear and tear of the cartilage that covers the bones in the knee causes osteoarthritis. This cartilage serves as a cushion between the bones to provide a smooth, gliding surface that is conducive for bone motion. The cartilage has a fluid coating called synovial fluid. This fluid is mostly made of hyaluronic acid that provides lubrication and serves as a shock absorber.
When there’s damage to the cartilage, there’s generally less hyaluronic acid around the joints. Thus, the bones scrape off against each other, causing a wide range of symptoms like chronic pain, stiffness, swelling, and limited range of movement in the affected area. Viscosupplementation works to relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis by replacing this lost hyaluronic acid.
Why is it a Much-Recommended Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery?
When you have exhausted other treatment options, like taking over-the-counter pain medications, and you still feel the symptoms of the disease, you’d likely consider knee replacement surgery. Fortunately, surgery is not the only alternative. A growing number of healthcare practitioners recognize viscosupplementation as a safe and viable option to provide long lasting relief from the effects of osteoarthritis. Here are its benefits:
It’s Scientifically Proven to be Safe and Effective
A panel discussion published in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy concluded that viscosupplementation provides a safe, cost-effective, and viable alternative for the treatment of osteoarthritis. Also, hyaluronic acid injections are FDA-approved, attesting to the procedure’s safety and effectivity.
It’s a Non-Invasive Treatment
Unlike surgery, viscosupplementation is an in-office procedure. First, an experienced healthcare professional will assess your joint using imaging technology (typically an ultrasound). Then, the professional will inject a local anesthetic to numb the area. After that, you will receive an injection containing a small amount of hyaluronic acid into your knee. Finally, the procedure will end with bandaging of the injection area. The whole procedure lasts a matter of minutes.
It’s Much Less of a Risk
In a study published in 2012 in the Archives of Internal Medicine, patients who undergo knee replacement surgery will have a 30% increased risk for heart attack, within 2 weeks after the surgery. Other risks after surgery include infection, bleeding, and blood vessel injury. By contrast, a potential side effect of viscosupplementation is mild and temporary swelling.
It’s a Cost-Effective Treatment
In addition, knee replacement is a complicated process which requires a team of medical professionals. Further, with surgery, you may have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days, racking up a huge medical bill in the process. And this is why one of the major draws for viscosupplementation is its cost-effectiveness.
To know more about this cost-effective, less painful, and non-invasive alternative, contact Elite Healthcare Center to schedule your complimentary consultation.