Hyaluronic acid has been known for its several medical and commercial uses, such as in dietary supplements, face creams, serums, eye drops, and injections. Amongst its many uses, one of the major applications of hyaluronic acid is to relieve joint pain in people with arthritis. As a consequence, many doctors recommend this treatment when conservative therapies such as weight loss, exercise, NSAID medications, and steroid injections are not able to help knee osteoarthritis, and the patients aren’t ready for the knee replacement surgery yet. Hyaluronic acid injections for knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a good option for some patient, however, their effectiveness is up for debate.
Similarly, The effects and success of injectable hyaluronic acid in facial skin are also not completely clear. There are good results in this area and the effects are often seen immediately, however, there are also many side effects and many patients report it is not as effective as the doctors claim this treatment to be.
Naturally, the skin also contains about half of the hyaluronic acid in the body. This binds with the water molecules and helps keep the skin hydrated and supple. The levels of hyaluronic acid in the skin gradually decreases as people age, which results in dehydrated skin and wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid for cosmetic reasons helps improve skin hydration and reduce signs of aging.
For the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, it may range from one-time injection to weekly injections for up to three to five weeks. Most people experience some relief in pain in about four to 12 weeks. The effect has been known to last as long as several months. The injection treatment can be repeated if needed. However, knee replacement remains to be the long-term solution for knee osteoarthritis or other conditions that result in knee pain and disability. Knee replacement in Turkey, for example, is considered by many safe and successful treatment that provides a cost-effective option to patients, especially from other countries such as the USA, UK, Canada, and many more, when the surgery is too expensive.
What is Hyaluronic Acid Injection?
Hyaluronic acid is a gel-like substance that occurs naturally in the body and is commonly found in the skin, eyes, and joints. It traps water inside tissue cells, keeps the eyes moist and the joints lubricated. Generally, hyaluronic acid injections can be used for several purposes – to improve the patient’s skin, as a type of temporary dermal filler, and to treat knee pain caused by osteoarthritis (OA).
Also known as hyaluronan, this type of treatment can be used in the injection form for arthritis patients who have lost hyaluronic acid as their joint wears away. The Hyaluronic Acid (HA) injection is an FDA-approved treatment for knee osteoarthritis only. It involves the process called viscosupplementation and makes the movement of the joint less painful.
Although the benefits of hyaluronic acid injections are still being studied, many doctors recommend them to people with knee OA when their symptoms don’t get better with painkillers or non-drug treatments such as heat or ice therapy. Hyaluronic injections are also often recommended for people who can’t take general painkillers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium.
The technique for injecting hyaluronic acid into the knee is known as an intra-articular injection. The intra-articular injection technique involves giving an injection directly into the joint capsule. This is typically done in a hospital or doctor’s clinic by an orthopedic specialist. The procedure takes only a few minutes and there is usually no prior preparation required. During the consultation, the doctor will discuss the procedure and ask about the medical history and current medications prior to this treatment. This is because not everyone is suitable for HA treatment. It is generally not recommended for patients who have:
- Active infection of facial or oral herpes
- Infection in the area to be treated
- Uncontrolled blood sugar level (diabetes)
- Problems related to blood-clotting
- Allergy to any components of hyaluronic acid injection
- Pregnant or breast-feeding women
It is also advisable to be cautious of hyaluronic acid use in patients who are undergoing immunosuppressive therapy.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections Side Effect
Typically, hyaluronic acid given in the form of supplements, topical products, and injections are considered to be safe, given the people follow the instructions on their use. However, hyaluronic acid may cause certain side effects and allergic reactions in some people. This is why it is really important that patients should always do a test patch before they start using a new skin product with HA.
For injections containing hyaluronic acid, there can be some potential side effects, but they usually clear up within a week. This includes:
These side effects are most likely due to the injection process rather than the hyaluronic acid itself.
Is Hyaluronic Acid Injections safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
The body naturally produces a certain amount of hyaluronic acid, and this substance rarely causes adverse side effects or allergic reactions. However, it is advisable for people who have a history of severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, to be cautious while using hyaluronic acid.
The effects of HA during pregnancy and breastfeeding are still unknown, and it is best for women in these conditions to avoid taking hyaluronic acid supplements.
Patients are encouraged to discuss with a doctor whether hyaluronic acid is right for them.
Hyaluronic Acid Injections – Pros and Cons
✅ It is a non-surgical treatment
✅ No particular pre-treatment or preparation required
✅ Provides relief from pain and inflammation
✅ The pain relief may last several months
✅ Some patients report their symptoms to have completely disappeared after one injection.
✅ Hyaluronic Acid Injections fill the skin that has lost volume or elasticity
✅ The effects of injectable hyaluronic acid are seen immediately
❌ It is a short-term solution, and the pain may return over time.
❌ It may not be very effective if the OA condition is severe
❌ There are chances that some people may not experience pain relief
❌ Its effectiveness may decrease over time
❌ Hyaluronic acid fillers tend to be the most temporary option – it typically lasts between 6-18 months
Hyaluronic acid has been known to plays a crucial role in keeping the skin and eyes hydrated and the joints lubricated. It also plays a role in wound healing by controlling inflammation and redirecting blood flow to the damaged tissues. Although the use of hyaluronic acid is clinically approved and have benefits, its effects may vary from person to person.