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Posted by Raylene on January 07, 2000 at 10:57:34:

In Reply to: Some questions about osteoarthritis posted by Irina on January 06, 2000 at 19:58:42:

: 3 months ago, after an MRI scan, I was diagnosed with cartilage tears in one of my knees, caused by osteoarthritis. The pain was not severe but noticeable when walking or weight bearing. The orthopedist suggested 3 options, none of them satisfactory to me: 1) surgery, 2) pain killers, 3) doing nothing. The first is no good because it is too invasive, risky, and not necessarily helpful (even the surgeon admitted that). Taking pain killers is not a constructive solution because it only masks the symptoms. Doing nothing is OK only if there are no symptoms, which was not the case. Well, after some research I learned about Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate and started taking it, and it has been helpful in lessening the pain though not entirely. I also have some mild side effects from it in the form of stomach irritability and occasional constipation.
: My question is this. I've heard of some doctors who inject certain substances into the knee in order to heal the cartilage. I'm not sure what those substances are, but I think they're similar to Adequan which is given to horses and dogs for arthritis. The advantage of these injections over oral medication is that they are localized and bypass the digestive tract. I've heard of a doctor in Milwaukee WI and one in S. Dakota who do these injections, but this is too far from where I live (in Minnesota). Does anyone happen to know if there are such physicians in Minnesota?
: A related question is: how do I find an orthopedist who is not surgery-oriented? Even though I made the decision to take Glucosamine on my own, I would really prefer to have a course of treatment planned and approved by a specialist, but one who wouldn't push surgery and would be open to innovative and alternatie treatments.
: Any information would be greatly appreciated.
: Irina

I have the same problems with my knees as you do. I recently had a series of three injections of Synvisc in my right knee. I don't know if this is what you are asking about, but these injections are to lubricate the joint in your knee. Right now they are only used on knees. They will not cure any cartilage problems, but they have been successful to lubricate the joint and help in movement. These injections have been used in European countries for years with much success. I can not say these injections have cured me, but I had the injections approx. 2 months ago and I am sometimes better than I was. They are very expensive, but I was lucky mine were covered by insurance. MY injections were given by an orthopedic. I had previously had surgery on my knee and that did not help at all. In fact, I had a bacterial infection from the surgery which only complicated matters. If I were you, I would probably try the Synvisc injections. I went on the internet and researched Synvisc at great lengths and many people have done very well with the Synvisc. Just make sure you get an orthopedic who is experienced in giving these injections. See if you can find a orthopedic doctor who specializes in knee problems. Hope this helps.

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