Biosurgery and Synthetic Viscosupplementation
Natural bio-materials have recently emerged as a major trend in surgical procedures. This is mainly due to their traits of bio-compatibility and their ability to integrate and remodel, with the patient’s own tissue.
The main purpose of a bio-material is to provide a temporary support system or scaffolding, which in turn enable cells from the surrounding body tissues to migrate in and being producing new tissue. The temporary bio-material scaffolding is eventually replaced at a later stage.
These natural biomaterials are being increasingly used in applications including urology, neurosurgery and orthopedics. Currently available biomaterials include synthetic mesh grafts, cadaveric tissue grafts, animal-derived tissue grafts and autologus tissue grafts, which are derived from the patient’s own tissue.
Bio-surgery and synthetic viscosupplementation
Bio-surgery is basically defined as the practice of using biological replacement materials or biomaterials in place of synthetic materials in a surgical procedure for the purpose of reconstructing or sealing tissues within the body.
Such synthetic materials include the likes of Goretex, Dacron etc.
These bio-surgery products are generally used in procedures like hernia repair, plastic reconstructive surgery, closure of holes in the heart, support for neural tissue, alongwith orthopedic applications such as tendon and ligament repair.
Meanwhile, synthetic viscosupplementation is a process of replacing the hyaluronic acid, which is a critical component in the composition of synovial fluid. It functions as a joint lubricant and aids the absorption of joint loading forces.
Synthetic viscosupplementation comprises of either cross-linked or non-linked hyaluronic acid. A large variety of synthetic viscosupplements are available, each with the same constitution.
Injections are generally administered once a week over a span of 3 to 6 weeks and can be repeated as frequently as every 3 months. These injections reportedly reduce intra-articular bradykinins and inflammatory mediators and inhibit nocicpetors. Studies indicate that the effects of such studies can last longer than 6 months with this procedure.
In this process, a preparation of hyaluronic acid is injected into the effected joint. The hyaluronic fluid is a naturally occurring substance found in the synovial (joint) fluid, acting as a lubricant to enable bones to move smoothly over each other and as a shock absorber for joint loads.
The growing popularity of the procedure of bio-surgery, using this process has been extensively reported in media as well. A recent news release revealed that there has been an approval in the European Union to market Synvisc (Hylan G-F 20) for the treatment of osteoarthritis pain in the hip.
When the Synvisc (Hylan GF20) is injected into the affected knee, the hylan G-F 20 helps to restore the shock-absorbing effect of the fluid within the knee. This in turn leads to reduced pain and a more active lifestyle.
Synvisc had gained an approval for use in the knee since 1995 in Europe and 1997 in the United States. Efforts have also been made to popularize this form of treatment for the osteoarthritis of the hip.