Injection therapy can be a reliable and noninvasive way to avoid surgery. At Barrington Orthopedic Specialists, Dr. Thomas S. Obermeyer offers corticosteroids, viscosupplementation, and biologic injectables to provide relief for painful joint conditions. To evaluate your injection options, make an appointment over the phone to see Dr. Obermeyer.
What conditions can you treat with injections?
If you have a painful condition including joint pain, arthritis, or a tendon disorder, injection treatment may help to improve or eliminate symptoms. Injection treatment may be appropriate if you have mild forms of joint or tendon damage or have a more substantial problem and are attempting a nonsurgical option. Dr. Obermeyer performs injections after cleaning and numbing the skin. The injection typically takes a couple of seconds to administer.
What types of injections are available?
Joint and soft tissue injections provide rapid pain relief and may help you return to activities and oftentimes an exercise program. The injections involve easy outpatient administration and help many patients avoid surgery. Dr. Obermeyer uses three types of injectables: corticosteroids, viscosupplementation, and biologics.
Dr. Obermeyer injects “steroids” into the area surrounding a damaged tendon or joint. The strong anti-inflammatory effect provides pain relief for many patients. The injections may allow you tolerate a painful condition long enough to build strength with physical therapy and recover. Sometimes steroid shots can be repeated but there can be downsides to this depending on your specific condition. You will speak with Dr. Obermeyer about the pros and cons of repeating injections.
Viscosupplementation involves the injection of a gel-like fluid into the shoulder or knee joint for osteoarthritis. Viscosupplementation consists of a lubricant called hyaluronic acid that enables the arthritic bones to move more smoothly over one another and act as a shock absorber for joint loads. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in normal joints that is found in lower concentrations in individuals with osteoarthritis. Adding hyaluronic acid to the arthritic joint may facilitate movement and reduce pain. Despite the theoretical effectiveness, the research on viscosupplementation inconclusive and there is a subset of patients that do not experience any relief from these injections. Dr. Obermeyer will discuss your specific case with you to help you predict your response.
The last category of injectable material used for a variety of tendon and joint disorders is biologics. Biologic injectables are all relatively newly introduced to clinical medicine and research on their effectiveness is ongoing. One currently offered by Dr. Obermeyer is a collection of anti-inflammatory chemicals isolated from human amniotic membrane called Amniofix®. Amniofix® is prepared by sterilizing, dehydrating, and micronizing amniotic membrane which kills all the living cellular material and leaves chemicals called cytokines and growth factors thought to be effective for soft tissue healing, reduction of inflammation, and pain relief. The proposed benefit of amniotic tissue is its high cytokine/growth factor profile coupled with lack of immunogenicity (not generating an allergic-type response). The product has a proven track record of safety and preliminary studies demonstrate some success in the treatment for a variety of tendon and joint disorders. Speak with Dr. Obermeyer about whether you would be a candidate for such an injection.
Which injection is right for me?
Injection treatment can be a wonderful way to temporarily improve pain and mobility but does not correct structural damage to your body or cure arthritis and it is important to have appropriate expectations before initiating treatment. The severity of the tendon or joint damage can often predict response to injection, as can the history of exposure to other treatment including prior injections. Dr. Obermeyer will review your imaging studies and diagnosis with you in detail and help you make the decision about which (if any) injection you may want to consider.