Skip to navigation

Smart Matters

Get Connected on YaleNet.orgGet Connected on
Welcome To YaleNet - Boola Boola Bulldog Rules
get connected with your One Click Club
YaleNet is YOU - ADD CONTENT, browse or   Search -->

The pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis often strikes first at your knees, limiting free movement and affecting your lifestyle. One therapy may offer relief for some patients by injecting Supartz, a hyaluronate fluid, into the knee to cushion and lubricate the joint. Visco supplementation therapy offers some patients a non-surgical way to restore full motion to affected knees. However, not all patients are ideal candidates for Supartz therapy; in advanced osteoarthritis cases, knee resurfacing or full knee replacement may be a better long-term solution.

Boise, Idaho orthopedic surgeon Dr. George Nicola of West Idaho Orthopedics suggests talking about all options when deciding whether Supartz therapy can work for you. "It's important to understand the limitations of visco supplementation and to be informed of all possibilities," he said. "Joint replacement surgery, particularly minimally invasive surgery using quad-sparing techniques, may be the preferred option for patients who have advanced osteoarthritis."

In its earliest stages, osteoarthritis responds well to non-steroidal pain relief medications and physical therapy. When these are no longer enough to manage pain and stiffness, Supartz therapy can forestall surgery. Dr. Nicola points out, though, that "injections temporarily lubricate the joint but are not meant to provide permanent relief." The hyaluronic acid in Supartz and other visco supplementation injections is similar to the fluid naturally found in your joints and performs a similar function, but it cannot re-grow lost cartilage. However, it can offer immediate pain relief in many cases. Over time, osteoarthritis causes significant changes to the knee's structure. At that point, knee surgery becomes a more promising possibility than temporary measures.

If you have a history of allergies to poultry, eggs, feathers or other products from birds, hyaluronate injections may not be advisable for you. Your doctor may also recommend against Supartz therapy in the earliest stages of osteoarthritis when medication controls your symptoms well or in more advanced states when bone and tissue changes have altered the knee structure too much to make the therapy effective. Joint damage from causes other than osteoarthritis are not appropriate for Supartz therapy, according to Dr. Nicola. "Fracture care and sports injuries require a whole different approach."

"Every patient's needs are different," said Dr. Nicola. "It's natural to look for non-surgical solutions when possible, but Supartz isn't a panacea; it's just one possible avenue of treatment for one common disorder. Patients shouldn't feel constrained by a single solution when minimally invasive surgery techniques have become so advanced." The Meridian orthopedic doctor suggests looking at every option and possibly overlapping therapies to maximize mobility and reduce the pain of osteoarthritis. "Injections can also work in conjunction with other therapeutic measures, "Dr. Nicola noted, "including oral medications and physical therapy."


For more information about knee pain treatment please click on this link or visit