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Basic Services

Diagnosis and treatment of all rheumatic conditions

Diagnosis

Detailed consultation including history, examination and review of all results to determine what the problem is.

Treatment

Discussion of the appropriate steps to manage the problem including starting new medications, joint or soft tissue injection, diet and exercise.

Ultrasound

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is used routinely as part of diagnosis, monitoring of disease activity and for guided injection.

Monitoring

Most rheumatic conditions are chronic and require regular review of the condition and often also require regular blood test monitoring due to the treatments used.

Injections

Most therapeutic injections are done under ultrasound guidance to ensure that the medication, medical device or blood product gets to the right target. We offer a comprehensive range of injection therapies.

Cortisone

Corticosteroids injections (often called cortisone injections) are used for many different rheumatic indications.

Cortisone can be injected into inflamed joints, inflamed tendons, inflamed bursas, into the carpal tunnel or into muscle to provide symptom benefit.



Nerve blocks

Usually done for pain relief. Often done when other treatments have failed, and surgery is not an option. This includes occipital nerve blocks to treat neck pain and headaches due to degenerative changes in the cervical spine, suprascapular nerve blocks for end stage shoulder arthritis, and genicular nerve blocks to treat pain from end stage knee arthritis.

HA

Hyaluronic acid, also known as viscosupplementation is essentially a lubricant that can be put into osteoarthritic joints to provide some symptom relief.

Examples of available products in New Zealand are: Durolane, Monovic, and Synvisc-One.

* Cost not covered by some medical insurance companies

PRP

Platelet rich plasma (PRP) is a product derived from your own blood. The blood is spun down in a centrifuge, and components of blood separated. The section with platelets and plasma is called PRP which can be injected into joints to treat osteoarthritis or into tendons and ligaments to promote recovery. 

* Cost not covered by some medical insurance companies


Infusions

We can facilitate the infusion of biologic medications to treat rheumatic conditions

In 2019, we will be introducing infusions of biologic medications (infliximab, tocilizumab, rituximab) to treat rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. At present, these infusions are only provided in DHB hospitals.

We will also be able to provide intravenous cyclophosphamide for the treatment of certain forms of vasculitis and other serious rheumatic conditions (as long as you are stable enough to be treated in the community).

The biological medications are very expensive. The delivery of infusions requires admission to a day stay facility and several hours of specialized nursing time. Not all insurance policies will fund the high cost of the medication and/or infusion.
  

Costs, Medical Insurance and ACC

Ultrasounds and all injection therapies are charged in addition to standard consultation charges.

Each medical insurer in New Zealand has a variety of different policies, offering significantly different levels of treatment cover. Please ensure you are familiar with your policy and exclusions including exclusions for pre-existing conditions so that the cost of private medical healthcare does not surprise you.

With the exception of patients with Southern Cross Health insurance (details below), all other patients are expected to pay for the consultation and any other relevant charges at the time of consultation and then claim the cost back from their insurer.

Auckland Rheumatology and Sports Medicine has a clinical services contract with ACC, so if you are being referred because of an injury where there is a valid ACC injury claim, the consultation charges are paid directly by ACC.  

Auckland Rheumatology and Sports Medicine is an Affiliated Provider to Southern Cross Health Society for consultations and a few other services. This means that if you are a Southern Cross member, we will apply for insurance pre-approval and also process claims on your behalf. If there is a shortfall, or a co-payment is needed you will be advised and asked to pay that directly at the time of your consultation.

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