Non-surgical treatment of cartilage disorder
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is present in the synovial fluid of a healthy joint. It is also used to treat people with focal cartilage injuries or general cartilage disorder because it improves the gliding and shock absorbing capacities of the affected joint. This way, the aim is to reduce the pain and improve the function of the affected joint
Depending on the seriousness of the cartilage disorder, one or more injections are given. In most cases the treatments needs to be repeated on regular basis. The interval of the injections depends on the seriousness of the cartilage disorder and the load (profession, sports discipline,...) on the damaged joint.
Hyaluronic acid has no immediate painkilling effect. It takes a few days to a few weeks before real results of the injection can be expected.
Possible side effects
A local reaction can not be excluded after the injection. However, most times this is limited and takes only one to two days. Application of ice and painkilling (paracetamol) or an anti-inflammatory drug can limit this reaction.
An allergic reaction is very rare (and a little more common when a hyaluronic acid is based on rooster comb).
As with every form of injection therapy, there is a risk of infection. However, this risk is very minor.
The cost of a gel syringe varies between 20 and 30 Euro for a smaller joint and up to between 50 and 60 Euro for larger joints. This difference is a result of the difference in volume and molecular weight.
There is no compensation from the Belgian health insurance (RIZIV).