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What is Viscosupplementation Therapy?
Viscosupplementation is a medical procedure during which lubricating fluid is injected into a joint. Also called hyaluronic acid injections or hyaluronan injections, viscosupplementation is most commonly used to treat symptoms of symptoms of knee osteoarthritis. Hyaluronic acid is a key component of the joint fluid in healthy joints, but is found in lower concentrations in osteoarthritic joints.
By adding hyaluronic acid to the existing joint fluid of an osteoarthritic knee, the goal is to:
- Facilitate better knee movement
- Reduce pain
- Perhaps slow osteoarthritis progression
How Viscosupplementation Works:
During viscosupplementation a small amount of hyaluronic acid, often just 2 mL, is injected directly into a joint capsule. A healthy knee joint has up to 4 mL of joint fluid within the joint capsule. Doing so gives the joint fluid its viscous, slippery quality, which does the following:
- Enables the bones’ cartilage-covered surfaces to glide against each other which reduces joint friction.
- Adds cushion to protect joints during impact; weight lighting, running, etc.
Joints affected by osteoarthritis typically have a lower concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joint fluid than healthy joints, and therefore less protection against joint friction and impact. Experts believe this further accelerates the joint degeneration process, setting in place a vicious cycle.
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