Ultrasound needle guidance improves the performance, outcomes and the cost-effectiveness of knee injections in people with osteoarthritis, according to new research.
Osteoarthritis causes changes in bones that include fluid accumulation, bony overgrowth, and loosening and weakness of muscles and tendons, all of which may limit movement and cause pain and swelling.
Researchers found the use of the ultrasound-guided method to provide improved results - including a 107 percent increase in the number of people who responded to the treatment and a 51.6 percent reduction in the number of people who did not.
Additionally, researchers noted a 47 percent reduction in pain during the procedure, a 41.7 percent reduction in pain two weeks after the injection, and a 35.5 percent increase in the length of time the participants experienced pain relief after the injection.
They also found that the ultrasound method led to a 14.6 percent reduction in cost per participant per year and a 58.8 percent reduction in the cost per hospital-outpatient participant who responded to the treatment.
"The study demonstrates that when physicians use ultrasound and a technique called hydrodissection performed with precise new mechanical syringes to inject the joint, the patient experiences less pain, improved safety, a better response to medications, and less need for other medical therapy," said Wilmer Sibbitt Jr at University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque.