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What is a viscosupplement (hyaluronic acid) injection?

MIC offers viscosupplement or hyaluronic acid injections to help reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Hyaluronic acid is a gel-like substance found in the synovial fluid in healthy joints. It acts as both a lubricant and a shock absorber.

When you have osteoarthritis, this fluid becomes diseased and stops protecting your affected joint(s). The cartilage covering the ends of the bones can also break down, becoming worn and frayed. These changes can cause inflammation, swelling, tenderness and pain in the joint which sometimes reduces mobility.

Injecting hyaluronic acid into your affected joint can help:

  • Lubricate the joint.
  • Reduce inflammation.
  • Improve shock absorption and mobility.
  • Restore function to the joint.

Your viscosupplement prescription

Your healthcare practitioner will decide which viscosupplement will work best for you.

If your healthcare practitioner requests Durolane, you can purchase this at a direct cost from MIC. We will confirm the cost when you book your appointment and give you a receipt which you can submit to your extended benefits plan for reimbursement.

For all other brands, you will need to fill your prescription and bring the medication to your appointment.

Pain relief

Every patient’s experience following a viscosupplement injection is different. You may find the viscosupplement relieves your symptoms for weeks, months or years.

If the injection helps to relieve your pain, your healthcare practitioner may order repeat viscosupplement injections as often as needed.

What to expect

  • When you call Central Booking to schedule your appointment, we will go over any special instructions with you.
  • At your appointment, we will give you a gown to change into. One of our technologists will position you on an exam table so you are comfortable.
  • Your MIC radiologist will give you a local anesthetic to numb or ‘freeze’ the skin and muscles near the joint. This might sting for a few seconds.
  • The radiologist will then use live x-ray imaging called fluoroscopy to position the needle accurately and safely. Once the needle is in the right spot, you will receive an injection of anesthetic and viscosupplement.
  • You may notice a slight increase in pain, numbness, or weakness as the anesthetic or freezing wears off. This may last until the viscosupplement starts working, which can take up to two weeks. During this time, you can take pain medications as needed.
  • Your healthcare practitioner may recommend physiotherapy to ensure you obtain the best results.