Orthovisc vs Supartz - Which One Is Best

Orthovisc vs Supartz image

What are the similarities between Orthovisc and Supartz?

Both these viscosupplements do share some similar features as explained below:

  • Clinical indication: These orthopedic gels are indicated for patients who had failed to respond adequately to simple pain relief medications and or lifestyle modifications. Compared to other brands of orthopedic implant that can be used on a wide range of synovial joints, Orthovisc and Supartz are only intended to manage arthritic knee joints.
  • Active ingredient: Both Orthovisc and Supartz are made of highly purified hyaluronic acid gel that are free from potentially harmful pyrogen.
  • Mechanism of action: Both brands of orthopedic implants are designed to mimic the biological action of the naturally occurring synovial fluid. Once the viscosupplement is injected into the articular space between the bones, the bones glide against each other smoothly. Painful symptoms of OA will then be significantly reduced, and patients can enjoy a better quality of life.
  • Administration technique: Both Orthovisc and Supartz should be administered into the synovial space between the bones. This intraarticular injection process can only be done by a certified and skilled healthcare professional once the affected joints had been assessed, cleaned, and disinfected. Any fluid effusion must also be removed prior to implantation of the hyaluronic acid gel to reduce the risk of undesirable side effects.  
  • Contraindications: Though these 2 brands are of high-quality, they are still contraindicated from being injected in some groups of patients due to an unestablished safety profile: expecting or breastfeeding patients; pediatric patients; patients who are affected by serious joint inflammation; and patients who are affected by any skin disorders on the proposed areas of injections. Failure to comply to the warnings can result in health complications; hence, it is best that the patient’s medical history is extensively reviewed during the pre-procedural session to rule out any unsuitable candidates.
  • Possible side effects: Following the viscosupplementation process, patients may develop some commonly reported inflammatory reactions such as swelling and pain. These side effects are generally contained within the injection area. In addition, patients may also experience fluid buildup around the treated joints. Patients must be taught to obtain quick medical attention if any of the side effects worsen or persist.
  • What are the differences between Orthovisc and Supartz?

    Despite their similarities, these brands are different from each other in certain aspects which are:

  • Origin of hyaluronic acid: Although both viscosupplements contain hyaluronic acid, the molecules are extracted from different sources. The hyaluronic acid particles in Orthovisc are manufactured biotechnologically via bacterial fermentation process. The injectable gel then has a hyaluronic acid strength of 15mg/ml and is supplied in a 2ml syringe. As for Supartz, the hyaluronic acid molecules are harvested ethically from rooster combs. The final product has a hyaluronic acid concentration of 10mg/ml and is packaged in a 2.5ml syringe. Hence, patients who are allergic to avian proteins can be treated with Orthovisc to prevent any allergic attacks.
  • Formulation of orthopedic implant: Besides the origin of the active ingredients, the intraarticular implants also have different molecular weight. For example, Orthovisc has an average molecular weight of about 1 to 2.9 million of Daltons whereas the average molecular weight of Supartz is about 0.62 to 1.17 million of Daltons. That being said, the molecular weights of both these implants are much less compared to the natural synovial fluid found in healthy and young adults, which has an average molecular weight of 6 million Daltons.
  • Number of injections: For optimal outcome, Orthovisc is administered into the affected joint a total of three to four times, one week apart. The pain-reliving effects will then last for about six months. As for Supartz, a complete treatment course requires five injections, also given on a weekly basis, with results lasting for approximately six months.
  • Cost of treatment: The estimated costs of the complete treatment course in the US for both Orthovisc and Supartz are $1355.70 and $1264.80, respectively.

What is osteoarthritis (OA)?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a progressive inflammatory disease of the synovial joints that results from cartilage degeneration. A synovial joint is made of 2 bones that are covered with a strong articular cartilage. This protective membrane continuously secretes lubricating synovial fluid via a process known as weeping lubrication. The fluid then ensures that the joints move smoothly without any painful friction between the bones. However, inevitable wear-and-tear of the synovial joints combined with other risk factors like excessive weight, genetics, and previous injuries cause the articular cartilage to break down. The bones will then painfully grind against each other and symptoms like reduced joint flexibility, tenderness, and stiffness will manifest.

Both Orthovisc and Supartz are leading viscosupplements

Following OA diagnosis, most patients are advised by their physicians to undergo a combination of non-pharmacological (e.g. assistive devices, physical therapy, weight reduction if necessary, etc.) and pharmacological (e.g. analgesic agents, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, etc.) treatment modalities. However, this first line therapy may not always be successful at providing adequate relief to the patients. Such patients are recommended to undergo the second line therapy, which is viscosupplementation. This medical procedure involves injecting the arthritic synovial joints with lubricating hyaluronic acid gel. Hyaluronic acid gel is a key component of the natural synovial fluid but is found in lower concentrations in osteoarthritic joints. Once the orthopedic implant had been administered into the affected joints, it will not only restore the usual joint function, but it may also help to postpone the need for corrective surgeries. The two most commonly used brands of viscosupplement are Orthovisc and Supartz.


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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