Call us at 281-633-8600. This article is about minimally invasive treatments for arthritic knees. Dr. J. Michael Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Doctor with offices in Houston and Sugar Land, TX.
Knee Viscosupplementation Can Help Arthritic Knees
The following is from an interview with Dr J. Michael Bennett:
As we get older and the more active we’ve been through our lives, the more likely we are to wear down and weaken the cartilage in the knee joint. That cartilage is the lining within the knee, and it provides the slick surface that allow the bones of the leg to work together without friction and pain. If the cartilage degeneration is bad enough, you get to the point where instead of a nice slick cartilaginous covering of the knee, you have more of a degenerative, bumpy type of surface, leading to exposed bone within the knee joint. With that exposed bone in the joint comes pain, swelling, and stiffness.
We have minimally invasive procedures to address these cartilage issues before they get to the point of bone-on-bone contact. With these minimally invasive procedures we can either stop the cartilage degeneration or slow it down, preventing or at least delaying major surgery to replace the knee joint.
Injections are one option and those injections can include steroid injections or viscosupplementation. Knee viscosupplementation is the injection of a preparation of hyaluronic acid to supplement or replace the natural synovial fluid in the knee joint. This injected fluid is very thick, viscous, and sticky and it acts to boost the effectiveness of the knee joint’s remaining synovial fluid to improve the function of the joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial fluid. It acts as a lubricant to enable bones in the knee joint to move smoothly and the joint fluid is a shock absorber for the knee joint. People with osteoarthritis have a lower-than-normal concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joints. Knee viscosupplementation may be a minimally invasive treatment option for individuals with osteoarthritis of the knee.
These injections of hyaluronic acid are also known as rooster comb injections. The hyaluronic acid injections we use today are produced in a lab-controlled biochemical process, but the original versions were extracted from rooster combs and the name has stuck. Despite advances in medical technology and medical manufacturing over the years the name “rooster comb injections” is still used.
Knee viscosupplementation or rooster comb injections can be very helpful for someone with moderate arthritis. Patients with severe arthritis of the knee tends to not do as well with these injections. You can get up to six months or even a year of relief with each rooster comb injection, and many patients decide to do the injections for awhile before they elect to do a knee replacement.