Monovisc vs Synvisc: Similarities and Differences Explained

Monovisc and Synvisc article image

What are the similarities between Monovisc and Synvisc?

Viscosupplementation is ideal for patients who have exhausted other medical treatments. While there are many brands of orthopedic implants available on the market, the two most renowned brands are Monovisc and Synvisc, which share the following similarities:

Active component: Both of these brands contain naturally occurring, cross-linked hyaluronic acid that is also found in synovial fluid.

Mechanism of action: Both implants are designed to closely mimic the physiology and performance of synovial fluid. These implants not only lubricate the space between the bones, but also help absorb shock during sudden impact, allowing the joints to move smoothly with minimal pain and discomfort.

Injection technique: Since Monovisc and Synvisc are orthopedic implants, they are injected into the articular space between the bones via intraarticular injection. However, the size of the needle varies depending on the type of joint being treated. Monovisc and Synvisc can only be administered by a certified and experienced physician once the proposed treatment area has been thoroughly inspected, cleaned, and disinfected. Patients who require an anesthetic agent must be assessed before injection.

Possible side effects: Following treatment, patients will potentially experience localized inflammatory reactions, such as pain and swelling. These reactions typically happen due to the minimally invasive needle pricks. Patients may also experience fluid buildup around the joints that have been injected with the viscosupplement.

Contraindications: Both Monovisc and Synvisc are contraindicated in pregnant, breastfeeding, and pediatric patients. Clients whose joints are highly inflamed or even infected are also contraindicated. Failure to comply with the warning will result in the worsening of osteoarthritis symptoms.

What are the differences between Monovisc and Synvisc?

Despite their similarities, Monovisc and Synvisc can be differentiated on the basis of certain features, which include the following:

Origin of hyaluronic acid: The sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid) in Monovisc is harvested from rooster combs, which is the fleshy crest on top of a rooster’s head. The final product contains 22mg/ml of cross-linked sodium hyaluronate that is presented in a 4ml syringe (88mg/4ml). Because of its animal origin, Monovisc is not suitable for patients who are allergic to avian proteins. Synvisc contains hyaluronic acid that is manufactured via bacterial fermentation. The final product is composed of 8mg/ml cross-linked hyaluronic acid that is supplied in a 2 mL syringe (16 mg/2 mL).

Formulation: Though both brands function similarly, they have vastly different properties. Monovisc is formulated to have an average molecular weight of 1 to 2.9 million Daltons, while Synvisc is designed to have an average molecular weight of 6 million Daltons, which more closely resembles the synovial fluid in a healthy, young adult.

Number of injections: As the name suggests, Monovisc is a single-dose treatment that is injected into the affected joint one time. The results last for approximately six months. Synvisc is administered weekly for three weeks to provide the same results. Synvisc offers a single-injection version as well.

Versatility: Monovisc is mainly used to correct knee joints that are affected by osteoarthritis (OA), while Synvisc is a versatile implant that can correct many synovial joints, including the knees, hips, ankles, and shoulders. The dosage differs according to the area of treatment.

Cost of treatment: Patients who undergo Monovisc treatment can expect to pay approximately $1347.77, while Synvisc treatment costs approximately $1073.90.

Viscosupplements for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a progressive and debilitating disease of the synovial joint. It occurs when the protective articular cartilage, which sheathes the ends of bones within a synovial joint, breaks down due to years of wear-and-tear or even injuries. As the cartilage deteriorates, the lubricating synovial fluid decreases in quantity, which results in painful friction between the bones.

Patients will then experience the symptoms associated with the condition, including pain, stiffness, tenderness, loss of flexibility, reduced mobility, and even bone spurs. While there is no cure for this chronic disease, patients can manage their condition via a combination of pharmacological approaches, such as oral analgesic agents and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and non-pharmacological approaches, such as a healthy lifestyle, joint support gear, occupational and therapy.

Patients with advanced cases of OA may require second-line therapy, which involves the intraarticular injection of orthopedic implants. These viscosupplements are injectable gels that closely mimic the properties and actions of the natural synovial fluid and help to improve joint function.

Another treatment option for patients with OA is joint replacement surgery. This involves replacing the badly affected joints, such as knee and hip joints, with prostheses that are made of metal, plastic, or ceramic. However, surgical methods can result in a long recovery time. Many patients tend to undergo viscosupplement treatment in order to completely avoid or postpone surgery.


Note on articles: These articles are not endorsed by DoctorMedica nor reviewed for medical accuracy. Similarly, views and opinions expressed are those of the author only. Articles are meant for informational purposes only. Ask your doctor for professional medical advice.


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