When you have arthritis in the knee, it can cause mobility issues that prevent you from enjoying life to the fullest. Treating this inflammation with an injected lubricant like Orthovisc can help restore your mobility and relieve pain.
How Orthovisc Injections Work
When the cartilage between the bones of the knee begins to break down over time, the cushion that keeps your knee’s bones from rubbing together while moving disappears. This causes bone spurs to develop and leads to inflammation and pain. Without treatment, these symptoms and the wear it causes on the bones of the knee will continue to worsen.
Orthovisc, a hyaluronic acid that mimics a substance found naturally in the knee’s joint, provides lubrication and helps absorb shock when injected directly into the space between the bones. The treatment includes one injection per knee for 3-4 weeks. Relief of your symptoms can last up to 6 months before the treatment needs to be repeated.
Effective treatment can help you prevent more wear and tear on your knee and may help you avoid the need for invasive procedures like knee surgery. Your primary care physician or physical therapist may be able to help you determine your chances of success with this type of treatment when compared to other methods of treating arthritis in the knee.
Side Effects and Risks Associated with Orthovisc Injections
Orthovisc injections are generally considered safe, and severe side effects are not common. People who are allergic to bacterial proteins or preparations with hyaluronate should not use this medication. If an infection of the knee joint or excessive fluid in the joint occur, your doctor may advise against treatment until these conditions are treated separately and successfully.
The most common side effects after receiving an Orthovisc injection are swelling or pain around the injection site. This is considered a normal reaction and should be temporary, but if you experience extreme discomfort or pain and swelling that lasts a long time, you should seek out medical attention immediately.
The health care professional administering this injection should be made aware of any current medications in order to prevent any possible reactions. After the injection, you should not overwork the joint until your doctor advises its acceptable to do so. This may involve avoiding certain athletic activities, such as running, playing sports or lifting heavy objects. You may also be advised to avoid standing for long periods of time.
Medicare Coverage for Orthovisc Injections
Although this medication must be administered by a trained health care professional in an outpatient setting, it is not currently covered by Part B Medicare benefits. Medicare benefits with a Part D Prescription Drug Plan do not cover Orthovisc injections, either. Medicare Advantage plans through private insurers have the flexibility to enhance their Original Medicare coverage with additional benefits, which may include Orthovisc injections.
The decision to cover this treatment is determined by each private insurer and some carriers may not be available in every state. If you choose this treatment under a plan that does not offer coverage for it, you may be obligated to pay the full amount and it may not count towards your yearly out-of-pocket max with Medicare.