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Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants
SJR: 0.133 SNIP: 0.491 CiteScore™: 0.89

ISSN Print: 1050-6934
ISSN Online: 1940-4379

Journal of Long-Term Effects of Medical Implants

DOI: 10.1615/JLongTermEffMedImplants.2013009871
pages 151-159

Viscosupplementation for Knee Osteoarthritis: Current Evidence and Recommendations

Nathan Evaniew
Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, Center for Evidence-Based Orthopaedics, McMaster University, 293 Wellington St. N., Suite 110, Hamilton, ON L8L 8E7, Canada
Beate Hanson
AO Foundation, AO Clinical Investigation and Documentation (AOCID), Dübendorf, Switzerland
Mitchell Winemaker
Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder worldwide and is a leading cause of pain and disability. Appropriate management of younger patients with milder disease remains a challenging area of intense research. Viscosupplementation attempts to restore the biomechanical and biochemical functions of normal synovial fluid hyaluronic acid. Several preparations with varying characteristics are currently available. The literature suggests a small benefit and relative safety, but several recent large meta-analyses have reported conflicting results. Major clinical guidelines provide inconclusive recommendations. Viscosupplementation may be a viable option in younger patients with milder OA where other non-operative modalities are also only modestly successful, but further investigation is clearly warranted. Limitations due to study heterogeneity, outcome reporting, and bias can each be addressed with improved research methodology.