What are Hyaluronans?
Hyaluronans are long chain molecules made up of a co-polymer of Glucosamine and is one of the natural components of synovial fluid, which lubricates and acts as a shock absorber within the knee joint.
What are the benefits of having Hyaluronan injections?
In osteoarthritis the quality of the naturally occurring hyaluronans in the knee declines and Hyaluronan injections have the effect of supplementing and/or replacing the natural hyaluronans within the knee joint. Although originally intended for patients with osteoarthritis they are also of value in younger patients with sports injuries of the knee. They have the effect of reducing pain for up to 6 months.
Are Hyaluronan injections safe?
Some types of Hyaluronan are derived from animal sources and as a result allergic reactions are prone to occur in sensitive individuals. However the type of Hyaluronan used in London Knee Clinic is a synthetic material derived from non-animal sources. As such there is little or no risk of an allergic response. There is a very small risk of infection with any injection and occasionally there can be a little bruising and swelling at the injection site. Some cases develop minor stiffness for a couple of days after the injection.
What is the success rate of these injections?
Success rates vary depending on the severity of the underlying condition but even in quite advanced arthritis a success rate of 75% is reported in the medical literature. These injections have now been in use successfully for the last 20 years. In a majority of cases the outcomes are excellent and many patients are able to defer having a joint replacement as a result.
What does the injection involve?
The injection is generally done on an outpatient basis and it is only necessary to admit very occasionally where there is a needle phobia. A small amount of local anaesthetic is injected into the knee initially. The injection does cause some discomfort very briefly, however they are well tolerated by most people and the average case is up and about immediately afterwards and able to return home.
In some centres three separate injections of 2ml are given spaced at weekly intervals. At London Knee Clinic we prefer a single higher volume injection (6 ml) which is more convenient, and reduces the overall amount of pain, with similar results.
Copyright London Knee Clinic 2014