Orthovisc vs Synvisc - Similarities and Differences

Orthovisc® vs Synvisc®

What are the similarities between Orthovisc and Synvisc?

Some of the similarities between Orthovisc and Synvisc include:  

  • Active ingredient: Both these viscosupplements contain hyaluronic acid gel as their active component and are available as brand-name drugs only.
  • 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 session, the viscosupplement gel mimics the action of 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.
  • 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 first before the orthopedic implant can even be administered.
  • Contraindications: Both Orthovisc and Synvisc are high-quality orthopedic implants that have undergone extensive assessment tests before they are even 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. Not only that, patients who suffer from serious joint inflammation or skin disorders on the proposed area of treatment 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.
  • Possible side effects: Following intraarticular injection of chosen product, patients may display localized inflammatory reactions such as pain and swelling. Not only that, they may also develop accumulation of fluid around the treated joints. Patients must be educated on the possible side effects that they might experience so that they can obtain immediate medical attention if necessary.

What are the differences between Orthovisc and Synvisc?

Despite their close similarities, Synvisc and Orthovisc are vastly different in other aspects as detailed below:

  • The origin of active ingredient: Though both brands contain hyaluronic acid, the origin of this active ingredient differ 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 is supplied with 8mg/ml of hylan gel. Hence, 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 will only lead to life-threatening allergic reactions.
  • Formulation of orthopedic implant: Both these brands 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 viscosupplement injection required by patients for adequate symptomatic relief. Patients who are treated with Orthovisc would 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 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. As well, some doctors still use Orthovisc in other joints.
  • Cost of treatment: Patients who choose Orthovisc injections typically pay an average of $1355.70. On the other hand, a complete Synvisc treatment will cost the 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 on 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 could even lose their mobility. While there is no cure to 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 gears. 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 do not wish to undergo surgery yet can obtain viscosupplement injections instead. Viscosupplement refer to injectable implants that mimic the actions of synovial fluid to restore joint function. Some renowned brands of intraarticular implants that are available on the market include Orthovisc and Synvisc.


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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