Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. This painful condition develops slowly and worsens over time. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis patients tend to try out many different treatment options to manage pain including pain relievers, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. A new treatment choice offered at Santa Rosa Orthopaedics is a procedure called VISCO-3. When pain continues to limit your activities, VISCO-3 may be a good option. We now offer this 3-injection treatment for patients suffering from joint pain.

Pain relieved by VISCO-3

Osteoarthritiscauses the lubricating properties of the synovial fluid in the knee joint to diminish, resulting in less protection and cushioning. Osteoarthritis causes damage to the cartilage resulting in pain noticeable when climbing stairs, working in the garden, walking, or just bending your knees to sit. This pain can linger into the night causing sleeplessness. With VISCO-3 osteoarthritis knee pain can be treated and results can last up to six months.

VISCO-3 is used for the treatment of pain in osteoarthritis of the knee in patients who have failed to get adequate relief from simple painkillers or from exercise and physical therapy.

In this procedure, a gel-like fluid called hyaluronic acid is injected into the knee joint. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial fluid surrounding joints. It acts as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint loads. People with osteoarthritis have a lower-than-normal concentration of hyaluronic acid in their joints. Adding hyaluronic acid to the arthritic joint aims to facilitate movement and reduce pain.

Research now supports VISCO-3 for knee pain relief

The most recent VISCO research collected in a clinical study showed that patients treated with VISCO-3 Sodium Hyaluronate had up to 52 percent reduction in pain by three months. VISCO treatments were first used in Europe and Asia and was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997. Medicare will cover knee injections that are approved by the FDA.

How VISCO-3 is used to relieve knee pain due to osteoarthritis

Hyaluronan is a natural substance found in the body and is observed in particularly high amounts in joint tissues and in the fluid (synovial fluid) that fills the joints. The body’s own hyaluronan acts like a lubricant and shock absorber in synovial fluid of a healthy joint. People with osteoarthritis experience a reduction of synovial fluid, losing the body’s natural ability to protect and lubricate joints.

If your doctor has determined that your knee pain is caused by osteoarthritis then you may be a candidate for VISCO-3’s non-surgical, non-pharmacological, pain-relieving therapy. VISCO-3 Sodium Hyaluronate is a solution made of highly purified, hyaluronan. Patients receive a 2.5 mL injection of VISCO-3 Sodium Hyaluronate once a week for 3 weeks (a total of 3 injections).

What should you expect following your series of injections?

The goal of treating knee discomfort with VISCO-3 injections is lasting relief of pain. Some patients experience pain relief even before the full series of 3 injections are given. The actual amount and duration of pain relief varies from patient to patient, but results tend to be long lasting – up to six months. Following an injection and for the next 48 hours, activities such as jogging, tennis, heavy lifting or standing on your feet for a long time must be avoided. Please note that no treatment, including VISCO-3, helps in every single patient.


SRO Knee Specialists

Dr. Gary Stein specializes in orthopaedic surgery, adult reconstructive surgery, sports medicine, and back care. Dr. Stein has pioneered techniques in hip and knee replacement surgery and has been performing (MIS) minimally invasive hip replacement surgical techniques since 2001. Dr. Stein is co-director of The Sports Medicine Center at SRO and is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Learn more …



Dr. Michael McDermott is co-director of The Sports Medicine Center at SRO. He is experienced in advanced arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the knee and shoulder, in addition to sports medicine, adult reconstructive, joint replacement, minimally invasive procedures, as well as general orthopaedic surgery.  Learn more …