What is Viscosupplementation?

“Visco” is short for viscosity, while supplementation means adding viscous gel to the joint that  supplements the joint  current volume of fluid

It is a medical procedure during which gel-like lubricating fluid is injected into a joint to supplement the viscous properties of synovial fluid, also called hyaluronic acid injection or sodium hyaluronate.  This injection is commonly used to treat symptoms like pain and to improve the function of joints.

• Initially, visco-suplement was used in the knee joint, but its indications are extending, and now it is used in the hip joint.  Down the line, it may also be used for shoulder arthritis or ankle joint arthritis.


(It’s a non-surgical treatment for degenerative joint disease) .

Point to be noted

Procedure should be prescribed and done by a qualified doctor, i.e., a rheumatologist.

Procedure:  A thick hyaluronate fluid is directly injected into the arthritic joint.

Depending on the product used, you may receive one to five shots, one shot every week.

You may notice a local reaction after the procedure, such as pain, warmth and slight swelling immediately after the shot.  These symptoms generally do not last long.

Effectiveness of Viscosupplementation

When successful, viscosupplementation can provide pain relief from six months to a year, depending on the stage of arthritis.

Types of Viscosupplmentation

• Sodium hyaluronate.

• Hylan G-F 20

• High molecular weight hyaluronate.

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Who can use viscosupplementation?

In addition to obesity and age, the female gender is a risk factor for knee osteoarthritis.  Women can receive hyaluronic acid injections if needed.

During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Women: No adverse effects are known for using viscosupplementation during pregnancy, but clinical trials evaluating possible risks are limited.

Children: Viscosupplementation is not approved to use in children.

Benefits of Viscosupplementation: (FDA Approved): Your body is likely to respond better to viscosupplementation than to other common treatments for Arthritic joints.

The injection has multiple benefits, such as;

  • Help to slow down arthritis progression.
  • Provide long-term, Systemic pain relief.
  • Reduces the use of chronic, systemic pain medications like NSAIDs and COX-2 inhibitors.
  • It’s a non-surgical treatment.  No need for prolonged hospitalization.
  • Do not require general Anesthesia.
  • Low rate of complications outcome.
  • Effect is limited to the joint that is injected.
  • Decreases or prevents inflammation, Reduces further damage and degradation to the cartilage.
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Dr. Qaisar Usmani

Meet Dr. Qaisar Usmani, a Board Certified Rheumatologist with over 20 years of experience in the field, currently serving as Section Chief at Monmouth Medical Center and GPHA, Inc. in Pennsylvania, specializing in the treatment of various Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal diseases.

Dr. Sadia Ghafoor
Dr. Sadia Ghafoor

Meet Dr. Sadia Ghafoor, a board certified specialist in rheumatology who completed her medical training at the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Osteopathic Medicine and her fellowship in rheumatology at the State University of New York Stony Brook campus, with additional board certification in internal medicine.

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