Hyaluronic Acid Injections for Knee Pain / Arthritis (Synvisc / Monovisc)

BY DR DANIEL MEYERKORT, KNEE SURGEON, PERTH ORTHOPAEDIC & SPORTS MEDICINE CENTRE

What is Hyaluronic Acid and how does it work?

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring molecule within our knee joints. It is from the family of molecules called glycosaminoglycans, which have a unique property of being able to attract and retain water. It’s ability to attract water creates a lubricant within our joint. A synthetic version of hyaluronic acid can be injected into your joint if you have knee pain and arthritis. It has been shown to help a damaged joint increase its own production of natural hyaluronic acid. This helps to lubricate your joint, resulting in less pain.

What is Synvisc / Monovisc?

These are brand names for Hyaluronic acid injection that are available for knee arthritis.

Does Hyaluronic Acid injections work for knee pain?

Hyaluronic acid injections have been shown to be more effective at relieving pain and improving function that cortisone (steroid) injections. This has been supported by recent Cochrane reviews. Patients with mild to moderate arthritis are the best candidates for successful treatment from Hyaluronic Acid. Most patients experience between 6 – 12 months of relief. In my practice, I occasionally use Hyaluronic acid injections to allow a patient to commence an muscle strengthening exercise program, which should be the base treatment for most patient with knee arthritis.

How much does Hyaluronic Acid injections cost?

Synvisc and Monovisc all cost around 400 – 500 dollars, which is the cost paid for the artificial lubricant. The cost of the joint injection is an additional 70 dollars.

FAQS

WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF HYALURONIC ACID FOR KNEE PAIN?

Hyaluronic acid injections are safe and the risk of complications are low. Infection is a low risk with any joint injection. Rarely patients can experience some redness, swelling and pain after injection.

IS HYALURONIC ACID GOOD FOR KNEE PAIN / ARTHRITIS

A muscle strengthening exercise program and weight loss (if indicated) should be the baseline treatment for most patients with knee arthritis. Hyaluronic acid has been shown to be more effective at relieving pain for 6 – 12 months than cortisone injections. 

DOES HYALURONIC ACID REDUCE INFLAMMATION?

Recent animal based studies have shown Hyaluronic acid can reduce inflammation and inflammatory (toxic) cells within the joint. It has also been shown to encourage molecules that are associated with cartilage repair.

CAN HYALURONIC ACID CAUSE KNEE JOINT PAIN?

In general hyaluronic acid injections will not make your pain worse, but there are patients who do not experience benefit after their injection. These tend to be patients with moderate to advanced arthritis of the knee joint.

What should I do after Synvisc / Monovisc injection?

I recommend your rest for 3 days after the injection then start a muscle strengthening exercise program with your Physiotherapist.

Does Medicare / Private Health Insurance cover Synvisc / Monovisc?

Medicare does not cover these injections however some private health funds partially cover the cost.

How long does it take for Synvisc / Monovisc to work?

Patients start seeing an improvement 10 – 14 days after injection, with the maximal pain relief around 6 weeks. This can last for up to 6 – 12 months.

Clinic Locations

West Perth, Joondalup, Canningvale