Hyaluronic acid (HA)
Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a form of ‘visco-supplementation’ used in the treatment of osteoarthritis and degenerative conditions of synovial joints. At Pro Sports Medicine, we primarily use it for those with knee pain in the form of Ostenil Plus.
What is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid (also known as sodium hyaluronate or hyaluronan) is a natural substance. It is present in the body wherever moisture is stored or lubrication between layers of tissue is required to eliminate friction.
Examples are the vitreous body of the eye itself, the tear film, the joint cartilage, the synovial fluid in the joints, all the mucuous membranes of the body, but also the basic substance of the skin which consists of up to 55% sodium hyaluronate.
HA takes on a variety of functions:
• Storage: it absorbs and stores moisture in enormous quantities
• Transport medium for nutrients
• Filter for inflammatory molecules.
How does Hyaluronic Acid work?
Hyaluronic acid is an essential component of the synovial fluid. It enables the fluid to act as a lubricant, a shock absorber and a filter controlling the movement of cells and large molecules within the joint:
It is injected into the space in the joint that contains synovial fluid and works by restoring the normal balance between the breakdown and production of Hyaluronic acid. This procedure is known as 'visco-supplementation', and the effect of HA/OSTENIL® means that it can decrease pain and stiffness and improve the other symptoms of osteoarthritis.
The Hyaluronic acid in OSTENIL® is very pure and is manufactured using a process called fermentation. It contains no animal proteins, which means that it is very unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. HA/OSTENIL® has been given to thousands of patients and has not been found to cause any serious side effects. The exact make-up of the HA in OSTENIL® has been carefully chosen so that it is as effective as possible in treating osteoarthritis.
What should I expect from a Hyaluronic acid injection?
If you decide to have treatment with HA, it will be injected directly under ultrasound guidance into the joint affected by osteoarthritis. This ensures the treatment hits the exact source of your symptoms. The research suggests you should have up to three injections as a course of treatment, with each injection a week or two apart. This will be discussed with you by the doctor and a bespoke plan arranged as per your condition.
You will probably not notice any benefits immediately after the first injection, but you should gradually start to feel less pain and stiffness over the next few weeks. The improvement in your symptoms should last for several months, depending partly on the number of injections you have. You can expect the benefit from three injections to persist for up to 9 months.
Once the effects of the first course of injections wear off, you can, if you choose, have another. After that, you can continue to have new courses of injections whenever necessary.