Experience long-term pain relief and regain joint function using this targeted treatment technique.
This natural component of collagen makes its home in our skin and in the fluid of our joints, allowing our bodies to function smoothly and pain-free. However, as we age, this substance begins to diminish, resulting in increased discomfort. Hyaluronic injections consist of a safe and natural substitute injected into the joint, which then helps the existing cartilage cells metabolize and restore function to the affected area.
An overview of this specific therapy, explained in a way that is comprehensive and concise.
Get a better understanding of the procedure and what to expect during treatment.
A general guideline for patients seeking this type of therapy.
The reasons behind what makes this treatment safe, effective, and suitable for you.
Evidence that this therapy is reliable and a worthy investment.
Know the time commitment this procedure requires before you book an appointment.
What to expect in terms of pain both during and after treatment.
Understand ahead of time how much this procedure costs.
Read the cited studies and texts that helped inform our knowledge on the effectiveness of cellular healing.
Hyaluronic acid is a normal, natural component of collagen in your body. It is also a natural component of the fluid in your joint called synovial fluid. As you age, your body slowly loses this vital component, and the result is a failure of these structures. An example of this would be seen in the loss of hyaluronic acid found in the skin on your face, which results in wrinkles. Loss of hyaluronic acid found in your eyes results in cataracts, and the loss of hyaluronic acid in your joint can lead to arthritis.
Hyaluronic acid is found in numerous components of your joints including the synovial fluid, the menisci, and the articular cartilage. When lost, trained medical professionals can now replace this hyaluronic acid with a substitute found most readily in the combs of roosters. 50% - 60% of patients can expect to see 6 - 12 months of pain relief as a result of the injection procedure.
Patients are given a series of three or five injections into the joint approximately one week apart. The hyaluronic acid in these injections attaches to the lining of the joint called the synovium. The receptors of this lining are stimulated to produce more of your natural hyaluronic acid. This can increase the viscosity (thickness) of your joint fluid. This increase in viscosity helps the native cartilage cells metabolize and function like a healthier joint, and the result is a reduction in pain and an increase in overall function.
Although not a complete list, the following is a general guideline to help you understand who may be an ideal candidate for this procedure. Prospective patients and their surgeons will always find exceptions as not every patient responds the same to each treatment. The idea patient may consist of:
Hyaluronic injections have a good safety record; however, some patients with allergies to poultry or feathers may have swelling and pain with these injections. For this reason, it is important to make the staff at Cellular Healing aware of these allergies, as we can easily use a non-avian (non-bird) formula. Infections and persistent joint pain or swelling is extremely rare with these injections. A review of multiple studies using hyaluronic acid revealed that the only adverse effects of significance are transient local reactions in the injected joint observed at a rate of 2% to 4% ¹.
A double-blind placebo controlled study of 495 patients revealed 56% of patients receiving had pain relief for six months and improved function with less side effects (2% vs. 9%), as compared to common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications². Another study by Wadell presented at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons convention 2005 showed that they could delay the need for a knee replacement. They injected 11,187 patients, and over 75% of patients with severe arthritic changes had not undergone a knee replacement at 3.8 years.
There are three to five injections at approximately one week apart, meaning patients would come in to the office three to five times. The maximum effect of the injections normally peaks at three months; for this reason, patience is required in order to reach maximum treatment benefit. Upon completion of each injection, patients may safely drive themselves home, as there is no need for a secondary driver. Normally, patients are advised to rest for the first 24 hours after each injection.
Our staff will numb the patient’s skin with a cooling spray to reduce any topical pain. Occasionally, some patients will have pain during the injection, which may last for anywhere from 5 minutes to a day. Resting and icing the knee will help.
Most health insurance plans cover hyaluronic injections to the knee, but not any other joint (i.e. hips or ankles). Recently, there has been a trend where many insurance companies choose not to cover these injections; however, many plans, including Medicare, still cover them. Most insurance plans have deductibles, copays, coinsurance, and uncovered services. The average cost of a hyaluronic acid injection is approximately $200 each (five injections = $1,000; three = $600). These expenses may be reimbursable through qualified Health Spending Accounts (HSA), Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Medical Savings Account (MSA), or Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Please contact your plan administrator for details.
¹ Peyron, JG, Intraarticular hyaluronan injections in the treatment of osteoarthritis: state-of-the-art review, Journal of Rheumatology, 1993, Aug 39;10-5
² Altman RD, Intraarticular sodium hyaluronate (Hyalgan) in the treatment of patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized clinical trial. Hyalgan Study Group. J Rheumatology. 1998 Nov; 25(11):2203-12