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Orthovisc® Joint Injections
What are Orthovisc® Joint Injections?
Orthovisc® is an FDA approved compound that is similar to the fluid that is present within the joints, called synovial fluid. The normal function of this fluid is to prevent friction between the bones by acting as a lubricant. Orthovisc® is a high molecular weight hyaluronan or hyaluronic acid, which is one of the basic compounds that form synovial fluid.
Joint injections are carried out by trained professionals who are usually orthopaedic surgeons. The injection itself involves passing a needle into the joint space after having located an ideal point to do so.
Who needs Orthovisc® Joint Injections?
With advancing age and recurrent injury, osteoarthritis of the knee joint can set in. Osteoarthritis results in the narrowing of the joint space in the knee joint due to a reduction in the amount of synovial fluid. As a result, the bones within the knee joint start to rub against each other and can cause pain.
Orthovisc® is used to increase the amount of synovial fluid within the joint and reduce this degree of friction. By allowing for extra lubrication, this treatment may help reduce pain within the joint.
Orthovisc® should be avoided if patients have a known allergy to hyaluronan or bacterial proteins. Orthovisc® has not been formally tested for use in pregnant women, and there is no information regarding whether it is secreted in human milk.
What are the steps in Orthovisc® Joint Injections?
Preparing for the Injection
The area where the needle is to be inserted is cleaned with an antiseptic solution. Sometimes, a local anesthetic injection is administered into the skin and superficial tissues to reduce the pain that occurs during the actual joint injection process.
Administering the Injection
Once an ideal point where the injection should be administered is located, Orthovisc® is injected into the joint.
As per the recommendations, Orthovisc® is injected once a week for a total of 3 to 4 weeks in order to produce the desired effect.
Following an injection of Orthovisc®, it is recommended that the knee joint be rested, and any activities such as long-distance walking, jogging, or even standing for long periods of time should be avoided for up to two days after the procedure. If any such activity is essential, always discuss this with the doctor. A full course of treatment can exert its effects for a period of up to six months.
Patients have been found to experience relief from osteoarthritic knee pain after the first injection of Orthovisc®. Many patients have obtained significant relief from pain.
Common side effects include a mild degree of pain, swelling and redness at the site of injection, which is seen in very few patients. Allergic reactions may occur but are relatively rare. Some patients may experience worsening joint pains, inflammation within the joint, swelling within the joint, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If you experience any of these side effects, make sure to contact your doctor immediately.