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Offline Jackie L

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anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« on: August 02, 2007, 07:18:21 PM »
I had arthroscopy with LR on my left knee 2 years ago, and the ever since then the pain has steadily increased while my ROM steadily decreased.  I had some issues with that OS so, I switched to a different one about 6 months after surgery.  He tried anti-inflamatory and pain pills, a cortisone shot and then as a last effort suggested "exploratory surgery" (two words that should never be uttered in the same sentence) which I refused.  Because of a change in insurance I now have a new OS.  He came very highly recommended and I feel very comfortable around him.
During the first visit, he had X-Rays taken, and immediately requested an MRI as well.  He also had me start PT to increase the strength and flexability in my knee/leg.
I just got back from his office where I got my MRI results (and another cortisone shot): OA. 
The OS strongly recommended synvisc, if the PT and cortisone don't reduce the pain.

From what I have been reading about synvisc (dated 2002-2006), it can be very painful, with various side effects, is successful in about 40-60% of patients, and needs to be repeated every 6-12 months.  However, I cannot find anywhere if it is safe to get injections for many years, because in my case, TKR is not an option for 15-20 years.  Also, the information I found was a bit dated, and I was thinking, that maybe there have been a few changes to reduce any side effects.

So my question is: Does anyone here have any recent experiences with synvisc?


Offline jathib

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  • ACL recon, lateral menisectomy, lateral PKR
Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2007, 07:37:47 PM »
There aren't really any side effects unless you're allergic to chicken as the stuff is made out of rooster combs. I found the shots to be worthless and the last one was the most painful injection I have ever had in my life. Had the first one felt that bad I would never have gone back for more. My doctor no longer gives the shots because of the poor success rate. The general consensus is that if they don't work the first time around they won't usually repeat the process. And even if they work the first time they are less successful the second time. So you won't find many people that have been given the shots for years.  They work about half the time but you won't know unless you try. If your OA has progressed to where you're bone on bone then the success rate is closer to zero.

On another note, there is no magic age for a knee replacement these days. People are having them done earlier and earlier because they last longer and doctors have figured out that quality of life is the most important thing rather than making you suffer for 15-20 years.

Offline costumer

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Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2007, 12:26:16 AM »
My mother just had them for her knee. It's been two weeks now, and she doesn't feel they did anything useful for her at all. I know some people who have had it and it worked ok for a while, others who had it and said it did nothing. So, there you have it: sometimes it works, and other times not. But everyone has admitted that the injections are kinda painful, and they sometimes needed a day off afterwards because of that.

    -Judy (way too phobic to try something with that bad a record)
Dx: bi-lat subluxating patellae w/chondromalacia 4/1977
6/78 LR - LK
1/80 TTT-Hauser LK; 12/80 Proximal Realignment Mystery- RK
1/82 Maquet TTT- LK
11/06 Meniscectomy; Mild OA- RK, 12/06 Meniscectomy; Mod OA- LK
3/07 Bi-lat severe arthritis
9/18/07 bi-lat TKR

Offline rainerng

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Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2007, 01:00:07 AM »
I thought the synvisc injections weren't very painful. It didnt do much for me though.
Ballroom Dancer
Jan 07 Fissure in Patella while dancing (prob due to VMO weakness)
Feb - May 07 PT
Jun 07 Injury got worse and given synvisc
1st Aug 07 Debridement surgery
8th Aug 07 PT with isometric knee exercises
13th Sept 07 PT with PRE's

Offline Plumb

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Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2007, 01:17:27 AM »
HA viscosupplemention -- Depending on the severity of the knee arthritis, these injections can be 72-75% effective for six months to a year. Has your doctor said you are not responding to any other treatments?

I had  Hylan G-F 20 injections five injections once a week for five weeks  in my left knee shortly after my right knee was replaced. I pretty much had two pain free months (pain that I could live with ) before a cortizone shot two weeks ago. ( pain i couldnt live with)   Currently I can describe my pain levels as non existent in my left knee.   I had my right knee totally replaced and before that..  I also had the brand name of orthovisc  injections 3 into  the right knee before opting for a TKR .  I can only say it brought the pain levels down a bit got me off cruthes to a cane. I had a sever limp and could not walk a block and had a valgus leg 7 degrees off & knock kneed.

If I went by the mindset that it wouldn't work for me on my left knee.. since I had such a crappy time with my right knee. .. I would be sadly wrong not to have faith in the rooster juice that saves me from pain & surgery's. I will have the injections again in October for the left knee and keep with the treatment until my quality of life goes down the crapper and than I will have no worries about getting the left one  replaced with out a second thought. Right now I am amazed how strong I keep getting and how I am able to do more and more things.

I can only say if you know what bone on bone pain is.. Try it see if it will get you a few months or weeks of a pain free life  and allowing you to  enjoy shopping or walks again.  With out it I would be looking at pain management pain killers because I am  surgery'd out after two operations last year.  The shots may hurt but it is nothing compared to the pain one feels after a total knee replacement. 

I always ice and rest up after each shot. My OS loves doing these shots early in the morning.  So one can enjoy a whole day of pain.  What is a little pain that may last 7 hours or so //compared to mind blowing pain of a  total knee replacement that lasts for months.

Maybe if you are at the point of grabbing your OS's  tie and strangling him for pain relief your knee may be beyond what the viscosupplements can do.  If you have your OS on speed dial and in intense pain and can not walk .. Perhaps you are beyond the point of the viscosupplements helping you.

When you stop doing the things you love to do and are in intense mindblowing  pain.. I would than advise you to skip the treatments and book that TKR.

I am 33 and had my right knee replaced due to OA.  I rather live life now and worry about a revision when the pain is at my doorstep. Not that I am playing ice hockey or baseball or softball or football.    I dont go about trying to Run and jog or ice skate and beat up my implant..  I just want to be able to do the very dull things in life like being able to get downstairs . walk a few blocks and not have clench my jaw in constant pain.

Hell anything can happen at any moment and an implant that should last 20 years can only last 1 year. There is no hold fast rule in what the future will be.   The shots may or may not work for you but it is still something you can do before taking on a very major surgery or enduring pain you have to cope with for 15-20 years.   I believe they say that to scare you anyway bcos if your in that much pain ..  They will not allow you to suffer needlessly. That would be cruel to allow someone to suffer that long.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 01:23:49 AM by Wiki »

Offline caren

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Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2007, 10:15:43 AM »
I had synvisc several years ago and it worked great for me was pain free and could walk or do anything that I wanted to do like ride my bike or what ever
then a yr ago in may i fell while at work on an uneven sidewalk and did damage to my knee had surgery in jan and then just finished orthovisc shots about 4 wks ago so far I have not had any relief on this set of shots my os told me that it might work and it might not but with a w/c injury you have to try the least restirictive first and go from there he also went on to state that it all depends on the type of damage that you have
good luck with your knee

Offline Jackie L

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Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2007, 12:49:33 PM »
Thank you all for your replys.

I will meet with my OS in a couple of weeks and maybe there are other options for me.  It does seem the success rate is very low.  At this point, after the most recent cortisone shot, my pain is tolerable and maybe after a few more weeks of PT (until third week in August)
I will be better yet.  After all, anything is possible.

Jackie L

Offline DeniseC

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Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2007, 05:33:37 AM »
Hi Jackie - I had a successful series of Hyalgen last Oct. that gave me 2-3 months of good relief from pain.  I am about to have the 5th of 5 Synvisc injections on Monday.  Not nearly as much relief or "cushioning" from these, but a little bit.  Probably not so much worth it this time.  Pain is not terrible, the needle stick is basically nothing but if you're creeped out by needles in the joints like I am the anxiety is worse than the actual sensation of pressure internal to the knee when the medication goes in.  Each shot lasts maybe 8-10 seconds.  Then sore for the day, elevation and ice, and the next day it's pretty much ok.  I'll try anything to deal with pain and lack of mobility 'cause it basically pisses me off!  Working up to a TKR because I'm increasingly unable to do much without pain meds.  I'm 54.  Glad you have an OS you like - that's half the deal.  Best of luck.
1/2005 first meniscectomy
6/2005 second one
severe osteoarthritis both knees
10/06 Hyalgen injection series
8/07 Synvisc injections
Pain meds, exercise, massage!
2/27/08 bilateral TKR's plus a bonus emergency arterial graft
5/14/08 doing better, ROM R124 and L138!

Offline MoLu

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Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2007, 07:29:45 PM »
Hi Jackie-
     I just had my second shot of synvisc last Tues.  I also tried cortisone and it did not work.  I have OA in left knee but it is not bone on bone.  My kneecap in particular gives me trouble.  Doesn't move smoothly and seems to get hung up.  The first shot was a breeze.  Didn't hurt and didn't help.  2nd one was the most painful thing I've had happen to my knee so far.  Doc says I was tense.  Wasn't tense until it felt like he was  grinding it in the knee.  I don't know why such a difference.  I had it in the early morning and went straight to work.  I have a desk job and by the end of the day if I had my crutches I would have used them.  Came home and iced it.  My kneecap felt like it was broken and I was in terrible pain.  Next morning it was swollen and no pain at all.  Each day since it is getting better and better.  So my next one is this Tues.  Now it will be hard not to tense up and have it hurt.  But it does seem to be working so I'm going to finish the series.  Sounds like from the other readers my OA is the kind it works well with since it is not bone on bone.  Dr says this is the last thing he can do before a knee replacement.  Trying to buy a little time.
Good luck to you.
Synovial Chondromatosis
9/16/05 Frontal synovectomy and tumor removal
10/26/05 Posterior open knee surgery and synovectomy with tumor removal
3/8/06 Disease is back
4/26/06 Frontal arthoscopic synovectomy and posterior open knee synovectomy
6/23/06 Disease is back
7/24/07 Synvisc
10/23/08 TKR

Offline misshilde

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Re: anyone with recent synvisc injections?
« Reply #9 on: August 05, 2007, 04:44:52 AM »
Hi there, I had synvisc injections in April..they weorked wonders up until now.....had enough relief to build my vmo and quad, but now it's painful again....I have stage 4 oa lateral..will pribably go in for second series in September

born with bad knee
83 patella ligament pierced by iceicle
84 50%  hamstring rip
86 lateral meniscus tear
more dance 
99 menisectomy(finally)
more dance
patellar & quad tendontis
05 LR, bonespur removal, general clean out, stage 4 OA
oct 06 illiophoas release( hip ok) but knee still bad...