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Viscosupplementation Injections

■ ■ ■ Description

Your doctor or other healthcare provider has recommended a treatment for you called viscosupplementation, or hyaluronic acid injections. This medication is used to relieve knee pain due to mild or moderate osteoarthritis. The medication acts to mimic the natural substances that are made by your body and found mainly in your joints. The body’s own hyaluron acts like a lubricant and helps to protect and cushion the joint. In some patients with osteoarthritis the fluid has become thinner and less able to do its job. Once this medication is injected it helps to replenish the fluid around the joint.

The treatment consists of a series of 1, 3 or 5 injections that will be given once a week in your doctor’s office. Some patients will notice pain relief in as little as one week, but some may not notice the benefits for several weeks AFTER the last injection.  Patients who get good relief of their symptoms may repeat the series of injections after 6 - 12 months, if desired. There are several different brands of viscosupplementation injections (Hyalgan, Synvisc, Orthovisc, Euflexxa, Supartz). Your doctor or provider will discuss with you which brand might be best for you.  

There may be temporary pain after the injection so please apply ice to the injection site for 20-30 minutes several times after the injection if needed.  Advil, Motrin, Aleve or Tylenol may be taken for pain if needed.  You should avoid any strenuous activities for 24-48 hours after the injection, but it is OK to walk and move the knee.


Side effects associated with the injections include pain and swelling around the injection site.  Less common side effects include itching, fever, nausea, headache, dizziness, chills and muscle cramps.  These are rare and usually only last a day or so.  If you have any unusual reaction after the injection, tell your doctor or provider immediately.

BEFORE you receive the injection, tell your doctor or provider if you are allergic to ANY medications and also if you are allergic to EGGS, POULTRY or FEATHERS.  Also tell your provider if you have any unusual reaction after receiving one of the injections – such as a rash, or significant swelling.


These injections must be authorized by your insurance carrier before they are administered – this authorization may take 2-3 weeks.  Once the approval for the injections is given, your appointments will be scheduled to begin the series.

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