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Published: July 20, 2023

Synvisc or Orthovisc: Decoding the Differences in Knee Joint Therapy

Osteoarthritis is a chronic disease oftentimes characterized by joint pain. Despite the fact that it cannot be fully cured as of now, its symptoms might be substantially reduced by hyaluronic acid injections.

Contemporary medicine offers a wide range of hyaluronic acid-based medications to address osteoarthritis-related pain in joints, for instance, Synvisc or Orthovisc. But is there any difference between them? Let’s figure it out together!

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About Synvisc and Orthovisc in a Nutshell

Before comparing and contrasting Synvisc and Orthovisc, let us take a closer look at both brands. Below, you will find the most important information about their manufacturers, compositions, indications & contraindications, and expected results.

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When talking about Orthovisc vs. Synvisc manufacturers, it is essential to mention that both brands are produced by experienced yet innovative pharmaceutical corporations.

More precisely, Orthovisc is manufactured by Anika Therapeutics, a company that specializes in orthopedic treatments, ophthalmic solutions, surgical products, and wound care. While Synvisc, in its turn, is produced by Sanofi, which is also an advantageous and trustworthy medical supplier.


Both Orthovisc and Synvisc produce hyaluronic acid injections. Therefore, they effectively compensate for the lack of naturally-occurring lubricants and shock absorbers that might be found in human joints.

However, the compositions of Orthovisc and Synvisc are not identical. The main difference between them is that hyaluronic acid employed by Orthovisc is derived from bacterial fermentation, while hyaluronic acid used by Synvisc is emanated from rooster combs.

Moreover, the viscosities of both medications are also quite different. Due to the fact that Orthovisc is not cross-linked, its viscosity is lower if compared to the one of Synvisc, the hyaluronic acid in the composition of which is cross-linked.

Indications & Contraindications

Symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are the main indications for hyaluronic acid injections performed by Orthovisc and Synvisc. In other words, both medications might be effectively used to reduce knee joint pain.

One essential precondition for Orthovisc and Synvisc injections is the absence of pain relief with the help of simple analgesics, physical therapy treatments, and other traditional methods of handling knee osteoarthritis. Namely, a patient should try out other non-invasive methods of addressing the disease and receive no results before undergoing hyaluronic acid injections.

As well, it is essential to mention that both Orthovisc and Synvisc might be used to reduce the pain intensity in the elbow, hip, ankle, shoulder, finger, and toe joints caused by osteoarthritis. However, these indications for the treatments are usually off-label.

It is also important to mention that not each and every patient is a good candidate for the injection of Orthovisc and Synvisc. Namely, the product should not be injected if a patient has an allergy to hyaluronic acid (since it is the main active ingredient both brands use), serious chronic disease, ongoing skin inflammation around the injection site, pregnancy, and breastfeeding.

Expected Results

One significant benefit Synvisc and Orthovisc share is the long-lasting duration of their results. More precisely, both products tend to minimize the knee pain (or the pain in other joints) for the time period that equals six months. However, these results strongly depend on the individual peculiarities of each patient, such as their current age, skin type, health condition, and lifestyle.

It is also worth mentioning that the above-mentioned results might be achieved after completing the full course of intra-articular treatments. In most cases, the treatment protocol of Synvisc assumes three weekly injections, while the one of Orthovisc includes three to five weekly injections. The exact number of intra-articular treatments a concrete patient would need, however, should be defined by a healthcare provider.

Apart from exceptionally effective results, even a single injection of Orthovisc or Synvisc might also cause several side effects, including numbness, tingling, fever, chills, mild muscle pain, and skin irritation around the injection site. Luckily, these adverse reactions usually have a temporary character and fade away on their own within two to five days after Orthovisc or Synvisc was used to treat osteoarthritis-related symptoms.

Synvisc vs. Orthovisc: A Comparison

Now, let us compare an Orthovisc injection vs. Synvisc injection. Below, you will find the list of the main similarities and differences between both products, which have been defined in the course of numerous viscosupplementation trials.


Orthovisc and SynviscThe main similarities between Orthovisc and Synvisc include:

  • SIMILAR INDICATIONS. Both products are primarily used to treat knee osteoarthritis. They turn out to be exceptionally effective when it comes to the reduction of pain in joints associated with the disease. As well, both Orthovisc and Synvisc might be applied to minimize pain in elbow, hip, ankle, shoulder, finger, and toe joints;
  • ANALOGOUS ACTIVE INGREDIENT. The compositions of both Orthovisc and Synvisc are based on hyaluronic acid, which functions as a powerful lubricant and shock absorber in the joint that has been affected by osteoarthritis. It is a substance that effectively compensates for the lack of the naturally-occuring hyaluronic acid;
  • IDENTICAL DURATION OF ACTION. Both products create long-lasting results when used to treat osteoarthritis. On average, they ensure the duration of action that equals six months (unless prolonged by periodical follow-up treatments).

On top of the above-mentioned similarities, Orthovisc and Synvisc also have comparable contraindications (for instance, neither of them should be used if a patient has an allergy to hyaluronic acid) and side effects (for example, both products might cause temporary muscle pain).

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When discussing the differences between Orthovisc and Synvisc, it is essential to pay attention to the following things:

  • The type of hyaluronic acid used by both medications is not identical. Namely, the one that might be found in Orthovisc is derived from bacterial fermentation, while the one in the composition of Synvisc is emanated from rooster combs;
  • The viscosity of Orthovisc and Synvisc is also various. Due to the fact that Orthovisc is not cross-linked, it is not that viscous. And vice versa, the cross-linked linked structure of Synvisc ensures the strong viscosity of the product;
  • The treatment schedule of both products assumes different number of injections. More precisely, the treatment protocol of Orthovisc usually requires three injections, while the one of Synvisc demands up to five injections in most cases.

In other words, Orthovisc and Synvisc are the hyaluronic acid injections of a very similar nature. At the same time, however, they are not identical and have a number of dissimilarities that should be taken into account when looking for the most suitable medication in each individual case.

A Verdict

All in all, both Synvisc and Orthovisc belong to the most popular treatments of osteoarthritis-related pain in joints. Therefore, consult with your healthcare provider in order to choose the one that would fit your needs best. Regardless of your final decision, we are sure that you will be satisfied since both products are highly beneficial!

If you would like to find an advantageous supplier of authentic orthopedic injectables, rely on OGOMED. Here, you will be able to buy Orthovisc or order Synvisc online for best possible price.