The objective of this investigation is to evaluate the safety and efficacy of viscosupplementation in treating symptomatic lumbar facet joint arthropathy. The intended use of the device (Synvisc) is to alleviate pain and improve function in patients with painful lumbar facet joint arthrosis by intra-articular injection into the involved joint.
Primary Outcome Measures:
- Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for baseline pain (best, worst, average) and pain while walking
- Oswestry Disability Questionnaire
- Short Form 36-Item (SF-36)
- Standing/walking tolerance (defined as time patient can sit for before pain level reaches baseline or distance walked before pain reaches baseline)
Secondary Outcome Measures:
- Analgesic usage
- Lumbar range of motion
- Patient satisfaction
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Patients will enter the study once the putatively painful joint or joints have been confirmed by single blind, double local-comparative anesthetic blockade. The joint(s) suspected by historical features and physical examination will be injected under fluoroscopic guidance with contrast-enhancement confirming intra-articular placement. The initial injectate will be 1cc of 2% xylocaine. Single diagnostic lumbar facet joint injections carry a false positive rate of 38%. In order to maximize the specificity of the diagnostic injections a second 1cc injection of a longer-acting local anesthetic, 0.5% marcaine, will be performed on all patients reporting clinically significant pain reduction (> 75% VAS reduction from pre-injection baseline) within 10-15 minutes after the xylocaine injection. This second diagnostic injection will be completed upon return of the patient’s pain back to baseline (no sooner than 3 days after the initial diagnostic injection). A true positive response will be defined as > 50% VAS reduction after the second injection. Patients will then undergo 2 IA Synvisc injections into the painful facet joint(s). An initial IA injection of 1.0cc (or a volume, not to exceed 1.0cc, accepted by the joint upon reaching a capsular endpoint) of Synvisc (1cc, 10mg/ml) will be injected into the painful joint(s) 7 days after the second diagnostic injection after the baseline pain has returned. A 2nd injection will then be performed 10 days after the initial injection. A 3rd injection may be offered to patients not satisfied with the results obtained with the first 2 Synvisc injections. A 2.0cc vial of Synvisc per patient will be shipped including other trial materials to the investigator for implementation. A fluid dispenser connector will allow direct dispensation of 1.0cc of Synvisc from the pre-packaged 2.0cc unmarked vial. Outcome measurement tools will include Visual Analogue Scale, Oswestry Disability Questionnaire, SF-36, lumbar spine range of motion (ROM), sitting and walking tolerance, analgesic usage, and patient satisfaction. Data will be collected at baseline, at 7-10 days after the second Synvisc injection, and at 1, 3, 6, and 12 month follow up (after the final Synvisc injection) visits. For example, patient X will undergo an initial 2 Synvisc injections and then be evaluated in the office 7 days later. If the patient experiences significant benefit, no other injections will be pursued. However, if a therapeutic benefit is achieved but is not satisfactory to the patient, a 3rd Synvisc injection will be performed within 3 days. A side effect and complications questionnaire will be completed by each patient within 30 minutes, 24 hours, and 72 hours after each injection (including diagnostic injections).