Orthovisc Vs. Synvisc: Similarities And Differences

Orthovisc® vs Synvisc®

Both Orthovisc and Synvisc are viscosupplements, i.e., orthopedic injectables used to restore synovial fluid and improve joint mobility with the help of hyaluronic acid. Viscosupplementation is often used to treat osteoarthritis along with physical therapy, pain medications, and other treatments.

These two brands are often chosen by medical professionals due to their high quality, safety, and prominent results. In some aspects, Orthovisc and Synvisc are similar, but there are also several distinctions worth mentioning.

Orthovisc Vs. Synvisc Orthopedic Injectables: Similarities

Top orthopedic injectables, Synvisc and Orthovisc, have quite a few similarities, including the following:

  • Active ingredient. Both viscosupplements contain hyaluronic acid gel as their active component.
  • Mechanism of action. Both Orthovisc and Synvisc are viscosupplements that are indicated for patients with osteoarthritis (OA) who fail to respond adequately to pharmacological and non-pharmacological treatment modalities. Following treatment, the viscosupplement gel mimics the action of healthy synovial fluid and enables the bones to glide against each other smoothly with minimal pain and friction. Debilitating symptoms of OA like stiffness, pain, and reduced joint mobility are alleviated, and patients can enjoy a better quality of life.
  • Administration technique. Both products should be injected intra-articularly into the synovial space between the bones within an arthritic synovial joint. This procedure can only be done by certified and experienced physicians under strict aseptic medical standards.
  • Contraindications. Both Orthovisc and Synvisc are high-quality orthopedic implants that have undergone extensive testing before being marketed to the public. That being said, these implants are still unsafe for certain groups of patients due to unestablished safety profiles. Such patients include those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, as well as pediatric patients. Patients who suffer from serious joint inflammation or skin disorders of the proposed treatment area are strictly contraindicated from receiving viscosupplement injections.
  • Possible side effects. Following intraarticular injection of the chosen product, patients may display localized inflammatory reactions such as pain and swelling. They may also develop an accumulation of fluid around the treated joints.

Orthovisc Vs. Synvisc Viscosupplements: Distinctions

Despite their close similarities, Orthovisc and Synvisc are also vastly different in a variety of ways:

  • The origin of an active ingredient. Orthovisc is a nonanimal-based orthopedic implant in which the hyaluronic acid molecules are extracted biotechnologically from fermented bacterial cultures. Each 2ml syringe contains a hyaluronic acid concentration of 15mg/ml. Synvisc is an animal-based viscosupplement whereby the Hylan polymers are extracted ethically from rooster combs. Each 2ml syringe contains 8mg/ml of Hylan gel.
  • Formulation of an orthopedic implant. These products are formulated differently. Orthovisc is designed to have an average molecular weight. Synvisc is chemically modified to closely resemble the biological properties of naturally-occurring synovial fluid in healthy young adults. This brand of orthopedic implant has a higher average molecular weight.
  • The number of injections. Another difference lies in the number of injections required by patients for adequate symptom relief. Patients who are treated with Orthovisc typically need 3 to 4 intraarticular implant injections, spaced 1 week apart for 6 months of pain-relief effects. As for Synvisc, a total of 3 weekly injections must be administered for the same duration of pain relief results. However, the patient’s condition also plays an important role in determining the need for additional treatment sessions and the actual duration of viscosupplement effects.
  • Versatility. While Orthovisc is only designed to alleviate the debilitating symptoms of OA in the knee joints, Synvisc is renowned for its versatility. It can be administered into various synovial joints such as the knees, ankles, hips, and shoulders that have deteriorated due to OA. That being said, the dosage differs based on the proposed area of treatment. Some doctors still use Orthovisc in other joints.
  • Price. If you’re looking to buy viscosupplements online, you should know that Synvisc tends to be a bit pricier than Orthovisc. While the average price for a 2ml syringe of Orthovisc is around $35, the same syringe of Synvisc will cost you around $52. However, when buying orthopedic injections online at DoctorMedica, you can expect to get special discounts and wholesale offers.

Efficacy of Orthovisc And Synvisc Against Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic disorder of the synovial joints characterized by symptoms like pain, tenderness, stiffness, reduced joint flexibility, grating sensation, and bone spurs. This degenerative disease occurs when the protective articular cartilage, which encases the ends of bones within a synovial joint, wears away. Other factors like excess weight, genetics, repetitive joint stress from overuse, and previous injuries tend to exacerbate the condition. If left untreated, patients can lose their mobility.

While there is no cure for this disorder, there are a lot of treatment methods to alleviate the symptoms. Most patients resort to pain-reducing medications (e.g., acetaminophen, corticosteroid, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to manage the discomfort associated with OA. They can also combine pharmacological therapy with non-pharmacological treatment modalities such as occupational therapy sessions, lifestyle changes, and rehabilitation gear.

Patients whose joints are severely defected may need to undergo corrective surgery instead. This procedure replaces affected joints with prostheses that are made of plastic, ceramic, or metal. Patients with affected joints who wish to delay or avoid surgery may opt for viscosupplements, like Orthovisc and Synvisc, instead. They were proven to reduce pain, increase joint mobility, and generally improve the quality of life in patients with OA.


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