Presented at the American Academy of Orthapaedic Surgeons, a study demonstrated that patients with advanced osteoarthritis (grade IV) were able to delay the need for surgery by nearly 4 years with intra-articular injections of Hyalgan. During the 6-year trial, patients with high grade (stage IV) osteoarthritis were scheduled for Hyalgan treatment rather than surgery.
Patients were treated with 1 or more injections of Hyalgan weekly for 3 weeks. Of the 1187 knees treated, 45% had 2 courses of treatment, 14% had 3, and a few had 4, 5, 6 or more. Overall, the incidence of Knee Replacement was 19%, with the highest rates amongst patients who were obese or aged 60 to 69 years.
Among the nearly 1200 knees treated, 962 had not undergone Knee Replacement by the end of the study and a further 407 knees were no longer being seen by clinicians. The authors claimed that, “Given the assumption that patients no longer being seen in our practice had not had a Total Knee Replacement during the observation period, the replacement surgery had been delayed by at least 3.8 years in 75% of knees treated with Hyalgan.”
Treatment for knee osteoarthritis usually involves anti-inflammatory medicines, steroid injections into the knee, and total knee replacements. Though these treatments continue to improve, a new widely used and thoroughly tested treatment is emerging. The substance is known as Hyalgan, a compound very similar to the natural synovial fluid found in the knee. When administered directly into the joint, Hyalgan helps lubricate and cushion the joint, delaying the need for invasive therapy. Additionally, it appears to inhibit the inflammatory response within the knee.
The authors conclude, “In patients who are Total Knee Replacement candidates, Hyalgan therapy can delay the need for surgery. This is particularly advantageous in patients for whom TKR is not medically appropriate or patients who fear or prefer not to have surgery.”