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Therapeutic Injections for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Hyaluronic Acid Injection
The healthy knee joint contains a small amount of a gel-like substance called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid contains a unique component called hyaluronic acid, which cushions and lubricates the joint during activity. As people age, the hyaluronic acid can break down, causing the synovial fluid to become thinner and less effective as a lubricator and shock absorber.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Injection
An injection of platelet-rich plasma is a technique that your practitioner may discuss using as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. The injection consists of a natural substance, called platelet-rich plasma (PRP), into the knee that may help injured tissue heal more quickly. Platelet-rich plasma is composed of blood cells called platelets that are taken from your own blood. Platelets help tissues heal after an injury by releasing substances called growth factors that stimulate healing.
In this procedure, a doctor takes a small amount of your blood from a vein in your arm and uses a machine called a centrifuge to separate the platelets and growth factors from other blood components. This process takes about 15 minutes. A medical practitioner then injects this platelet-rich liquid, called plasma, directly into the knee joint. Our doctors use ultrasound guidance to ensure precision.
People often experience pain relief and improved function within two to six weeks.
Structural Tissue Supplementation
At IHS of Tampa bay, we offer injections of structural tissue supplementation. Wharton’s jelly is unique in that it can develop into any type of cell and provide a structural site for growth—for example, cells that help repair damaged tissue. When injected into an arthritic knee, stem cells may encourage the damaged cartilage to regrow and heal. Injections of Wharton’s Jelly can also reduce inflammation.
The exact way these cells work is still being researched, but some people find that an injection of Wharton’s jelly relieves pain and swelling and may help speed recovery.
Our doctors obtain these cells from healthy tissue, typically from the outer portion of the umbilical cord, using a syringe. The area is thoroughly cleaned before the procedure and they are injected directly into the knee.
Regenerative Injection therapy does not produce results right away. Over time, their regenerative effect may help damaged tissues to heal. Most people experience improved function and relief from pain after two to six weeks.
What to Expect After PRP or Stem Cell Injections
Doctors recommend avoiding anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen for four to six weeks after a therapeutic injection with stem cells or platelet-rich plasma while the injury heals. This is because injections of biological material stimulate the body’s inflammatory response, an important part of healing. If the injection site is sore or swollen in the days after treatment, doctors recommend taking over-the-counter acetaminophen and applying an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time three times a day.
You should also avoid strenuous activities using the knee for four weeks after injection to give the injured tissue time to heal. Your doctor may provide you with a boot to keep your foot and leg immobile. All weight should be kept off of the knee for two days, and your doctor can provide you with crutches to help you move around without putting weight on the joint. The boot should be worn for two to three weeks.
Your doctor schedules a follow-up appointment after three or four weeks to evaluate the healing process. He or she may recommend an additional platelet-rich plasma or stem cell injection depending on the extent of the injury.
If you are dealing with chronic pain or a debilitating injury, IHS of Tampa Bay may be able to help.
Call today to schedule a consultation. 727-807-2224