'Chicken Shots' May Replace Knee Replacement in Some
Waddell reported that people like Singletary responded well when given a second course of Synvisc injection treatments after the first course had failed. More than half (57%) of the 129 people who had a second round of injections reported that their knee pain was improved six months later. Waddell tells WebMD that he has given the three-shot series to some people as many as five times, and many are still responding.
In a second study, Waddell and colleagues evaluated the effectiveness of Synvisc injections in delaying knee replacement surgery. People with advanced osteoarthritis who had the injection therapy were compared with those who did not. Those who received the injections were much less likely to need surgery over the following three years than those who did not.
"Up until now, I think many people were reserving this treatment for patients with moderate levels of osteoarthritis," Waddell tells WebMD. "These studies show that it is very effective in patients with advanced disease, and that it is safe and effective as repeat treatment."
Singletary recently underwent a third round of injections, which were unsuccessful, because he now has calcium deposits within the soft tissue of his knee. Even though the doctor will soon be scheduling a second knee replacement surgery, he says he would still recommend the injections to anyone.
"I had three good years with very little pain at a fraction of the cost and a fraction of the risk of surgery," he says. "After I had gone through the second round of injections, a former patient called and asked what I was doing about my knees. I told her about the chicken shots, but they had never heard of it where she lived. I told her to get a plane ticket and come to Shreveport."