Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a molecule normally present in healthy cartilage. When injected, these gel-like substances can help improve mobility, reduce your pain, and lubricate the joint. Injections are performed under image guidance to ensure the solution is delivered exactly where you need it. We use HA injections to treat pain and osteoarthritis in joints.
For more information on osteoarthritis and these injections, read the article New Guidelines for Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY EXAM?
- You’ll need a prescription from your practitioner. Many insurance plans cover products such as Synvisc or Durolane as “medical devices.” Your booking coordinator will discuss this with you when they call to give you details about your appointment. We provide most products on-site at a direct cost. Otherwise, you will need to bring your medication to your appointment.
- Take all prescribed medications as directed. If you’re on anticoagulation drugs (e.g., Plavix, Coumadin, Warfarin) you may need to have an international normalized ratio (INR) test. Please speak to your booking coordinator for more detailed information.
- If you take insulin to manage your diabetes, please let your booking coordinator know. You may have some juice and a small snack after taking your insulin.
- Wear comfortable clothing.
- Arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment. If you are late, your examination may have to be postponed.
- In case you have any discomfort, please have someone accompany you on the day of your test. It may be more convenient to have someone else drive you home.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY EXAM?
- We may provide you with a comfortable clinic gown to change into (depending on the area being treated).
- Your technologist will explain the consent form, procedure details, and answer any questions before escorting you to our treatment suite where you will be greeted by the radiologist.
- The radiologist will clean the skin and inject a local anesthetic, similar to the freezing you would get at the dentist.
- Depending on a variety of factors, including the area being treated, the radiologist will typically use X-ray guidance to perform the treatment and inject the solution using a sterile needle.
- After being checked post-injection, you will be free to leave with no recovery time required.
- Please rest during the 24 hours after your injection. Avoid heavy activity and aggressive physical therapy or rehabilitation sessions for 24-48 hours. Be aware of your pain and stop if it hurts too much.
- Please advise your physiotherapist that you have had this injection, so they can modify your exercises if necessary.
- SPECIAL NOTE: Some of these injections are thick and may take time to distribute around the joint. We will also inject a small amount of anesthetic. Gentle massage of the area may be helpful. Occasionally, these products may cause a local “flare” of a joint temporarily, which can be managed by pain medication. Please call and notify us if this happens: 403-568-3890.
WHEN WILL I SEE RESULTS?
- The injection includes a long-lasting local anesthetic (freezing) so your relief may be immediate. The pain can return as the freezing wears off and before the hyaluronic acid medication takes effect. The hyaluronic acid typically takes 1-2 weeks to start working.
- Results vary from weeks to months depending on the joint or body part involved, severity of the disease, and the cause of your pain. Some patients get complete relief that is permanent, while others have no significant effect. If an injection does not help relieve your pain, then you may need further evaluation.
HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
The HA solutions come in different sizes and vary in cost. HA’s can be purchased at a direct cost from the locations that provide these services; your booking coordinator can provide additional information on pricing.