Orthovisc Vs Synvisc – Similarities And Differences

Industry News,

Knee Treatments


Last Updated On: 2024-01-26

Orthovisc and Synvisc are popular viscosupplements designed to treat symptoms of osteoarthritis! Read on to find out more about their similarities and differences.

Doctor Medica team

What are the similarities between Orthovisc and Synvisc?

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

  1. Active ingredient: both viscosupplements contain hyaluronic acid gel as their active component and are available as brand-name drugs only.
  2. 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 better quality of life.
  3. Administration technique: the orthopedic implants should be injected intraarticularly 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. Most importantly, the proposed treatment area must be assessed, cleaned, and disinfected before administration. 
  4. 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. The patient’s medical information must be reviewed carefully to ascertain their suitability to receive either Orthovisc or Synvisc injections.
  5. Possible side effects: Following intraarticular injection of chosen product, patients may display localized inflammatory reactions such as pain and swelling. They may also develop accumulation of fluid around the treated joints. Patients must be educated on the possible side effects so that they can obtain immediate medical attention if necessary.


What are the differences between Orthovisc and Synvisc?

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

  1. The origin of active ingredient: though both brands contain hyaluronic acid, the origin of this active ingredient differs greatly. 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. Patients who are allergic to avian-based products must let their physicians know about their medical condition and avoid Synvisc injections. Failure to do so may lead to life-threatening allergic reactions.
  2. Formulation of 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Versatility of viscosupplement: 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.
  5. Cost of treatment: Patients who choose Orthovisc typically pay an average of $1355.70. On the other hand, a complete Synvisc treatment typically costs patients an average of $1272.67. Treatment costs may vary depending on the clinic and severity of the patient’s condition.


Orthovisc and Synvisc help with osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic disorder of the synovial joints that is 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 excessive weight, genetics, repetitive joint stress from overuse, and previous injuries tend to exacerbate the condition. If left untreated, patients can even 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 attending occupational therapy sessions, modifying lifestyle, and wearing 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. 

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