What are Hyaluronic Acid Injections?
The injection of hyaluronic acid, also called viscosupplementation, is a therapeutic treatment used to relieve joint pain. Also known as hyaluronan, hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the body that provides lubrication to the joints. In certain conditions such as arthritis, there is a depletion of hyaluronic acid that results in joint pain. Injected into the joint, hyaluronic acid restores the joint environment and relieves pain.
Indications for Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Hyaluronic acid injections are recommended when conservative measures have failed to improve joint pain and disability due to arthritis, and when surgery is either undesirable or unwarranted.
Preparation for Hyaluronic Acid Injections
- Inform your doctor about any health conditions, allergies, and regular medications that you are on.
- Wear loose clothing so that the joint can be easily accessed during the procedure.
Procedure for Hyaluronic Acid Injections
The procedure for hyaluronic acid injections includes the following steps:
- Your doctor will have you lie or sit in a position that allows easy access to the target joint.
- The skin over the injection site is disinfected and a local anaesthetic is administered.
- Your doctor may use ultrasound imaging to help guide the needle into the joint.
- Excess fluid in the joint will first be aspirated (withdrawn).
- Hyaluronic acid in a syringe is then injected into the target site using the needle.
- Your doctor closes the incision site using a bandage or suture.
What to Expect after Hyaluronic Acid Injections
You will be advised to rest for 12-24 hours after the procedure. Ice packs and analgesics may be recommended to relieve any discomfort. Avoid strenuous activity such as jogging, sports, lifting weights or standing for a long duration for 48 hours after the injection. Low-impact exercises or physical therapy can help regain mobility in the affected joint.
Risks and Complications of Hyaluronic Acid Injections
Hyaluronic acid Injections may cause the following side-effects: