What is Hyaluronic Acid?

This is an injection that is given for knee osteoarthritis. It is called by many names. Here are a few names my patients have called it: rooster comb injection, chicken fat shot, cock comb injection, jelly shot, gel shot, cushion injection, just to name a few… It’s brand name depending on the company that produces it is: monovisc, synvisc, gel one and its generic name is hyaluronic acid or shortened to HA.

What is this mysterious multiple named injectable material???

A little background information, first. HA is a naturally occurring fluid in your knee joint. It is a thick viscous fluid that lubricants the knee joint. The fluid is produced by the cells lining the wall of the knee called synoviocytes.

When a knee becomes arthritic the synoviocytes start producing a fluid that is very thin and water like which does not lubricate the knee very well. The principle behind injecting the HA into the knee is it tricks the synoviocytes to start producing a thicker fluid for 5-6 months which makes the knee feel better. Eventually the arthritic knee goes back to producing the water like fluid again which is why the injection is given about every six months.

HA is not an injection that restores health to the knee like stem cells. It is a “bandaid” in the sense that it helps for a while to reduce pain but eventually stops working and the injection will have to be repeated. As the osteoarthritis worsens or advances, which all arthritis does, the injection may become ineffective.