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Viscosupplementation for Shoulder Arthritis

What is Viscosupplementation for Shoulder Arthritis?

Viscosupplementation is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the injection of a hyaluronic acid preparation into the shoulder to treat arthritis. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance which is present in the joint fluid that acts as a shock absorber and enhances lubrication.

Indications for Viscosupplementation for Shoulder Arthritis

Viscosupplementation is mainly indicated to treat pain and swelling in the shoulder joint caused due to arthritis that is not relieved by other conservative measures such as over-the-counter pain medications or corticosteroid injections.

Anatomy of Shoulder

The shoulder is a very flexible ball and socket joint that consists of 3 bones, the collarbone (clavicle), the upper arm bone (humerus), and the shoulder blade (scapula). An irregular shallow cavity called the glenoid cavity present in the scapula forms the socket for the head of the humerus to fit in. The scapula is a flat triangular-shaped bone that serves as a site of attachment for the shoulder muscles providing stability to the joint. The clavicle bone connects the scapula to the breastbone.

Preparation for Viscosupplementation for Shoulder Arthritis

Preparation for viscosupplementation for shoulder arthritis includes:

  • Inform your doctor if you are allergic to any medications.
  • Tell your doctor if you have any medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes and if you are taking any regular medications.
  • Wear loose clothing while coming for the procedure.

Procedure of Viscosupplementation for Shoulder Arthritis

Procedure of viscosupplementation for shoulder arthritis includes:

  • Your doctor will first clean the site of the injection with an antiseptic.
  • Local anesthesia will be injected near the shoulder joint.
  • Imaging guidance may be used by your doctor to inject the targeted site.
  • Any excess fluid will be aspirated from the joint if necessary.
  • Your doctor will inject the hyaluronic acid preparation into the shoulder joint.
  • A bandage will then be placed on the injection site.

The whole procedure usually takes only a few minutes.

Post-operative Instructions for Viscosupplementation for Shoulder Arthritis

Post-procedure instructions for viscosupplementation for shoulder arthritis include:

  • •Your doctor will advise you to apply ice to reduce pain and swelling.
  • •Avoid exerting pressure and performing strenuous activities with the shoulder for a few weeks.

Risks and Complications of Viscosupplementation for Shoulder Arthritis

Risks and complications of viscosupplementation for shoulder arthritis include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Redness
  • Allergy

Viscosupplementation of the shoulder in not approved by the FDA and patients who wish to trial will need to pay out of pocket. However, Dr. Gomez can discuss this as a treatment option if indicated.