Motor Oil For Your Joints
LOS ANGELES (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- About 27 million Americans suffer from osteoarthritis -- a condition that causes joint fluid to thin out, resulting in bone-on-bone pain. Surgery is invasive and requires a long recovery. Now, a simple injection may help patients, and it comes from an unlikely source.
Ion Hartunian used to train for triathlons. Today, he's just happy to go for a leisurely ride.
"That bike was collecting dust in my closet for two years. I could not ride it at all," Ion Hartunian, arthritis patient, told Ivanhoe.
Ion has osteoarthritis in both hips. Even simple activities like working at his computer were out of the question.
"I couldn't sit at the computer for longer than 20 or 30 minutes without getting on the floor and having to stretch," Hartunian said.
The pain was so bad doctors scheduled ion for surgery. But he cancelled the procedure after trying this injection -- called Synvisc. It's made from the comb of a rooster!
"The proteins that are made out of that are similar to the proteins made in joint fluid." Joseph Robinson, M.D., Musculoskeletal Radiologist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles said.
In a 15-minute procedure, doctors take x-rays of the patient -- infusing a dye to show them that the needle is in the arthritic joint. Then, they inject the gel directly in that spot. It cushions and lubricates the area -- just like real cartilage.
"You can think of it kind of like motor oil for your joints." Dr. Robinson said.
It’s typically injected every six months. It's currently being used for knees and hips but can potentially be placed in any joint. A recent study showed 75 percent of patients were able to delay knee replacement surgery after having the treatment. Doctors say that's a big benefit for younger patients.
"Just like a car will wear out after a certain number of years, implants have a lifespan," Dr. Robinson explained.
At 50 years old -- the injection was a welcome option for Ion.
"It just got me back to a normal lifestyle," Hartunia said.
Now, he can sit and work for hours at a time or ride around town.
"Quitting is not an option for me. I want to be as active as possible and keep doing everything that I want to do," Hartunian concluded.
And he can -- without pain slowing him down.
Synvisc is covered by most insurance companies as a six-month treatment for knee osteoarthritis. There is a small risk of injecting it in the wrong spot, which can cause pain and inflammation, but Dr. Robinson says that is extremely rare. MORE
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