Affiliated Knee Pain Specialists in Birmingham share options to help postpone or avoid knee surgery and relieve pain.
By Kim Kisner
Photography by Erin Kirkland
Sponsored by Affiliated Knee Pain Specialists
Is your knee joint “bone-on-bone?”
Do you frequently take medication for knee pain?
Do you suffer from stiffness, limited range of motion and muscle weakness?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may suffer from osteoarthritis. And you are not alone.
Currently an estimated 27 million people suffer from osteoarthritis, making it one of the most common causes of disability in the U.S. In fact, osteoarthritis accounts for nearly 25 percent of all visits to primary care providers and half of the all anti-inflammatory drug prescriptions written in the U.S.
But there are options available to help you find relief.
Affiliated Knee Pain Specialists in Birmingham specialize in providing patients minimally invasive solutions that help to postpone or avoid knee replacement surgery and offer effective pain relief. Viscosupplementation therapy and platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, are two of the most effective procedures that we’ll take a look at:
Viscosupplementation therapy is a procedure involving a simple injection into the knee joint to supplement the viscous properties of synovial fluid.
How Does It Work?
Affiliated Knee Pain Specialists utilize an injectable called Supartz, which contains sodium hyaluronate. Interestingly, this fluid is a healing agent produced naturally by the human body and found in the comb, or skin flaps, of roosters. Experts extract it from the rooster comb to create the injectable substance.
What Does the Process Involve?
The simple injection is done in the office and takes less than 30 minutes. Affiliated Knee Pain Specialists medical staff use 3D imaging technology called fluoroscopy when administering the injection, which provides real-time imagery. This ensures the injected material is introduced to the exact point that provides the best outcome for the patient.
The patient is then fitted with a weight-bearing knee brace to wear for a short time after the injection, which keeps the joint separated while the Supartz takes hold.
The procedure involves five weekly injections and consultation with a physical therapist in between visits.
Viscosupplementation therapy has been shown to be 86 percent successful in alleviating pain associated with osteoarthritis and other knee and joint pain issues and is covered by most major medical insurance providers and Medicare.
This procedure also uses an injection, but the injectable is actually a platelet-rich plasma solution derived from the patient’s own blood. This concentrate contains approximately three to five times more platelets than the normal concentration of platelets in human blood. This potent fluid promotes several types of cell activity, including inflammation, proliferation and remodeling, all of which are necessary in the healing process. In short, PRP stimulates the body’s natural healing process.
What Does It Involve?
Blood is drawn from the patient. The tube of blood is then spun in a centrifuge at a high speed so that it separates into red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets and plasma.
Some of the plasma is removed, and the remaining plasma is mixed to form the platelet-rich plasma solution. This PRP solution is injected around the point or areas indicated for treatment, again using fluoroscopy for precise placement. Since the patient’s own blood is used, there is no risk of infection.
This procedure typically takes just one injection, and the patient will feel relief in about eight days. PRP is not currently covered by insurance and costs $500 per injection.
If you’ve been living with pain that’s restricting your life, maybe it’s time to set up a consultation with Affiliated Knee Pain Specialists to learn how you can find relief. You don’t have to live with constant pain any longer. Call to set up your free consultation.
Affiliated Knee Pain Specialists
211 Hamilton Row, Birmingham