FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS ARTHRITIS?
Arthritis is inflammation of your joints. There are many different forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and osteoarthritis. After the correct diagnosis is made, your treatment will vary for the type of arthritis that you have.
WHAT IS OSTEOARTHRITIS?
Osteoarthritis is a disease that has a genetic component and also a mechanical component. It usually affects the knees, the spine, and the tips of the fingers. The nodules that some people have just before their finger tips are nodules of osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis does not cripple you but can severely limit your activities; and, therefore, prompt and early treatment generally will allow someone to be more active, and by doing so, will allow them to lose weight and increase their ability to enjoy life. Not everyone gets osteoarthritis as they age, but if you are afflicted with it, prompt and early treatment is essential.
WHAT IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis that affects most every joint in the body. Although its' exact mechanism is unknown, it is basically an inflammatory arthritis that destroys the surface of the joints. Once a diagnosis is made, early treatment is imperative to prevent joint deformity.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE CURRENTLY AVAILABLE?
In its' early form, arthritis can just be treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, weight loss, a good diet rich in omega-3, and- possibly some cortisone injections. If you do not respond to early treatment; then prescription anti-inflammatory medications are available as is the injection of a joint with arthritis with visco supplementation, which has been shown to reduce joint destruction in osteoarthritis. As a last resort, surgery can be done, but after doing 500 knee replacements on my own, my opinion would be that unless you are having pain walking level surfaces. that a knee replacement should- not be performed. Even after a knee replacement is performed, it does not give you a normal knee, and you still can have problems going up and down stairs, squatting, or kneeling. In my experience, my most happy patients were patients that had pain on level surfaces before the knee replacement, because barring any complications, back pain was always completely relieved. In order to make appropriate treatment, recommendations, it is essential to have a thorough work-up, which may include blood work, x-rays, ultrasound, MRIs, or even possibly an out-patient arthroscopy. All of these treatments are available at the Knee Center after a thorough discussion with the orthopedic surgeon.
WHAT IS HYALGAN & HOW DOES IT HELP?
Hyalgan is a form of hyaluronic acid, which is injected into the knee joint. It is both a lubricant and nourishes the articular surface. The articular surface of the knee normally has a degree of springiness, but in osteoarthritis, it become brittle, like a sponge left out on your sink that loses its' water content and becomes rough. If you moisten the sponge, the sponge thickens, and that is the theory when you inject Hyalgan into the joint, the brittle cartilage thickens as it absorbs the visco supplementation. After a period of time, just like the sponge on your sink, the articular cartilage dries out again, and the injections have to be done. The injections surprisingly are minimally painful as the area can be frozen and Lidocaine is used to numb the area. We also use a diagnostic ultrasound to ensure precise placement of the Hyalgan in the joint in order to maximize its' effectiveness. In terms of my injection technique, I do it a little differently than most as all injections are done by the doctor himself, and it is put in below the knee cap where the knee is normally fairly numb. You are able to walk on the knee out of the office quite easily, because the Novocaine is very effective in numbing the knee; so there is no down time from an injection. For a complete discussion of the risks vs. benefits of Hyalgan, please schedule a consultation and discuss it with Dr. Cooper.
WHAT IS CORTISONE? HOW DOES IT HELP?
Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory agent used for over 60 years to control inflammation. It can be injected into the knee directly providing local anti-inflammatory effects, but it really does nothing to control the disease of osteoarthritis. Oral cortisone can also be used in severe cases, but oral cortisone does have side-effects such as weight gain and water retention that can be adverse to some patients. I use injectable cortisone very frequently and combine it many times with visco supplementation to provide more instant anti-inflammatory and pain relief. I rarely prescribe oral Cortisone, but it certainly can be an adjunct in severe cases of arthritis.
WHAT IS NATURAL OMEGA 3?
Omega-3 anti-inflammatories have been shown to reduce the pain and inflammation in arthritis.
IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OMEGA 3 BRANDS?
We manufacture our own brand of Knee Center Omega-3, which is superior to most store-bought brands or Internet brands because of several reasons. Knee Center Omega-3 is purified, and all harmful chemicals have been removed during the molecular distillation of the fish oil. It is as pure as Lovaza, which is basically a prescription fish oil sold for many times the price of Knee Center Omega-3. Knee Center Omega-3 also has a thicker capsule; so there is no "fish burp." We also encourage people to freeze Knee Center Omega-3 and take two capsules in the morning and two capsules in the evening of frozen Omega-3 further reducing the chance of any unpleasant after taste. Knee Center Omega-3 is concentrated and provides more of the essential ingredients than most store-bought brands; so, therefore, basically the capsules are double-strength.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS TO OMEGA 3?
The only side-effect of Omega-3 may be an increase in bleeding time; so if you are on Coumadin or another blood thinner, sometimes it pays to check with your family doctor before taking them; so it is important to let Dr. Cooper know what other medications you are taking.
WHAT COSTS ARE INVOLVED AND WILL MY INSURANCE COVER THE TREATMENT?
We request payment at the time of service unless we are a preferred provider for your insurance company or employer. All Co-payments are due at the time of service. You may be responsible for any charges that are not covered by your health care or insurance plan. If you would like further information please contact our office.
WHAT INSURANCES DO YOU ACCEPT?
The Knee Center is pleased to participate in health insurance plans. While The Knee Center accepts most major insurance plans, our participation is always growing, so please call our office and the staff will gladly check on your plan.
HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?
Our staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Please call our office at (570) 825-5633.