Complications after viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid are not common, but any procedure involves risks and the potential complications. Complications may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or your recovery. Risks and potential complications of a viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid include: 

  • Adverse reaction to the synthetic hyaluronic acid, such as an allergic reaction and problems with breathing
  • Bleeding or bruising
  • Damage to nerves and blood vessels
  • Infection 
  • Injection site reactions including swelling, tenderness and warmth. These are usually temporary.
  • Pain

Reducing your risk of complications

You can reduce the risk of certain complications by: 

  • Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before your injections and during recovery
  • Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding, fever, or increase in pain
  • Taking your medications exactly as directed 
  • Telling all members of your care team if you have any allergies

How do I prepare for my viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid?

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before your viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid injection can improve your comfort and outcome. You can for viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid by:

  • Answering all questions about your medical history, allergies, and medications you take. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
  • Stopping smoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and can help the healing process.
  • Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. Your doctor will give you instructions for taking your specific medications and supplements.

Questions to ask your doctor

Having a viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid injection can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their question during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before surgery and between appointments. 

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:

  • Why do I need viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid? Are there any other options for treating my osteoarthritis?
  • How long will each treatment take? When can I go home?
  • How many treatments will I need? When will my treatments occur?
  • What restrictions will I have after the injections? When can I return to work, exercise, and other activities?
  • How often will I need injections? How far apart will they occur?
  • What kind of assistance will I need at home? Will I need a ride home?
  • What medication plan should I follow before and after the procedure? 
  • How will you treat my pain?
  • When and how will we know if the treatment is working?
  • When should I follow up with you? 
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.

What can I expect after my viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid?

Knowing what to expect after viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid can help you get back to your everyday life as soon as possible.

How will I feel after viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid?

You may have discomfort and swelling near your injection site for the first two to three days after the procedure. Applying an icepack can help ease minor discomfort. Your doctor will recommend or prescribe medication to control your pain as needed. Tell a member of your care team if your pain is not well controlled by your medication because it can be a sign of a complication.

Your doctor will likely advise you to avoid sports, exercise, and putting a lot of weight on your affected joint for the first few days. You should feel less pain and swelling in your affected joint a few weeks after your treatment, with maximum relief occurring within about three months. Pain relief is generally temporary, lasting up to six months after the injections. &