Injecting the knee
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Last Updated On: June 5, 2024

Orthovisc vs Synvisc: Comparing Intra-Articular Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Published on: May 5, 2024

Did you know that more than 10% of patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis (OA) undergo intra-articular injections of different drugs annually? This treatment is widespread within three months after an individual is diagnosed with OA in their joints.

Intra-articular injections, including Orthovisc and Synvisc, offer relief from pain and discomfort to patients suffering from knee pain due to osteoarthritis. These treatments, administered via injection, act differently for patients to achieve pain-free and more comfortable movement.

This article will explore the similarities and differences between Orthovisc and Synvisc, particularly their ability to alleviate symptoms and improve the quality of life for individuals with osteoarthritis.

Key Takeaways

  • Orthovisc and Synvisc are used for knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, but they come from different sources.
  • They help reduce pain by adding cushioning to the knee joint.
  • Some might prefer one based on how often you need shots or where it comes from.
  • Choosing between them depends on what your doctor thinks is best for you.

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Introduction to Intra-Articular Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Orthovisc and Synvisc are two types of injections used to treat knee pain caused by osteoarthritis. These shots deliver hyaluronic acid into the knee joint, promoting smoother movement and reducing pain. While Orthovisc is derived from bacteria cells, Synvisc is sourced from rooster and chicken combs.


Despite their different origins, both treatments effectively alleviate knee pain and improve mobility. Although they are equally effective in reducing knee pain, these treatments can be more expensive than alternative options. However, they remain among the safest and most effective ways to manage knee arthritis without surgery.

Definition and Purpose of Intra-Articular Hyaluronic Acid Injections

Intra-articular hyaluronic acidĀ injections like Orthovisc and Synvisc are treatments for knee osteoarthritis. They add cushioning and lubrication to the joint, reducing pain and improving function. Orthovisc, made from hyaluronan not derived from animals, and Synvisc, derived from rooster and chicken combs, offer relief tailored to patients’ needs, making daily activities easier and more comfortable.

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Importance of Comparing Orthovisc and Synvisc

Comparing Orthovisc and Synvisc helps medical professionals choose the right treatment for knee osteoarthritis. Some patients may prefer one source over the other. Knowing each injection’s origin, frequency of administration, and patient preference is crucial in determining the best option. Orthovisc and Synvisc have been well-documented for safety and effectiveness, making them top choices for easing knee pain.Ā 


By comparing Orthovisc and Synvisc, doctors can make informed decisions tailored to individual needs, considering factors like injection frequency and product composition.

Information about Orthovisc

Orthovisc acts like a lubricant and cushion for the knee joint. It is made of hyaluronan, a natural substance in our joints that helps them move smoothly. After following the correct dosage for Orthovisc, the injection adds to this natural hyaluronan. This helps reduce pain from osteoarthritis by making the joint work better.

It also means that after getting an Orthovisc dosage injection, you might find moving around easier because your knee has more cushioning and less friction. Since it comes directly from bacterial cells and not animals, it’s safe for patients who need this kind of help with their knees.

Indications for Orthovisc Use

Doctors choose Orthovisc for knee osteoarthritis patients when other treatments fail. It offers relief without steroids and is a cushion and lubricant for the knee joint. Ideal for those seeking pain relief beyond diet, exercise, or over-the-counter meds, it aims to ease discomfort and improve mobility with each shot.

Information about Synvisc

Synvisc, made from hylan G-F 20 sourced from rooster and chicken combs, mimics healthy knee joint fluid. Unlike Orthovisc, its hyaluronic acid is chemically modified to resemble natural synovial fluid more closely. As a shock absorber and lubricant, Synvisc eases knee osteoarthritis pain, allowing smoother movement and improved function.Ā 


By adding cushion and lubrication to the joint, Synvisc reduces friction and discomfort, helping patients return to their daily activities with less pain. It acts as a temporary filler, supporting the joint and making everyday movements more comfortable for those with knee osteoarthritis.

Indications for Synvisc Use

Synvisc is used for knee osteoarthritis when other treatments fail. This injection adds cushioning and lubrication to the knee, similar to natural joint fluid. It’s suitable for those seeking relief from arthritis pain without surgery. 

The critical ingredient comes from rooster and chicken combs, making it a unique choice for supplementary treatment. Many find Synvisc effectively reduces pain and improves knee function, making it an essential tool in managing osteoarthritis symptoms.

Comparing Clinical Efficacy

Discovering how Orthovisc and Synvisc fare in real-world scenarios will pique your interest. Numerous studies have evaluated Orthovisc, a knee injection for osteoarthritis, showing its efficacy in reducing pain and improving knee function, leading to better patient outcomes. 

Orthovisc is a valuable option for alleviating joint pain and enhancing mobility, making a significant difference in patients’ lives. Similarly, research supports Synvisc’s effectiveness in reducing pain and improving knee function, with its composition resembling natural knee fluid. Both treatments offer good safety profiles, catering to different patient needs and preferences regarding injection sources.

Comparative Analysis of Clinical Efficacy

Transitioning from individual studies on Synvisc, let’s now focus on a comparative analysis of the clinical efficacy between Orthovisc and Synvisc. This comparison is crucial for medical professionals to make informed decisions based on their patient’s treatment needs.

Source of HyaluronanBacterial cellsRooster and chicken combs
Clinical EffectivenessSimilar effectiveness in reducing painSimilar effectiveness in improving function
Frequency of InjectionsIt may require multiple injectionsSingle injection
Patient PreferenceVaries based on individual needsVaries based on individual preferences
Disease-Specific CostsHigher compared to other HA injectionsHigher compared to other HA injections
BiocompatibilityConsidered biocompatibleConsidered biocompatible


Orthovisc and Synvisc are both intra-articular hyaluronic acid injections used to manage osteoarthritis. While they share a similar purpose, their formulations, mechanisms of action, and clinical efficacy differ. 

By understanding the nuances between Orthovisc and Synvisc, medical professionals can tailor treatment plans to individual patient needs, optimizing outcomes in joint pain management. 


1. What’s the difference between Orthovisc and Synvisc?

Orthovisc and Synvisc are both knee injections designed to alleviate pain, but they are not steroids. Orthovisc can be administered over multiple shots, while Synvisc is typically a one-time treatment.

2. Is getting an Orthovisc shot going to hurt a lot?

Like any injection, there may be some discomfort, but side effects are usually mild. A quick pinch now can mean less knee pain later.

3. How often do I need these Orthovisc injections?

Typically, patients receive three or four injections over a few weeks. Your doctor will determine the best schedule based on your specific needs.

4. Can I use something else if Orthovisc isn’t my thing?

Yes, alternatives like Euflexxa and Monovisc are available. Each treatment has its method and benefits, so your doctor will help you choose the best option for your condition.

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Testa G, Giardina SMC, Culmone A, et al. Intra-Articular Injections in Knee Osteoarthritis: A Review of Literature. Journal of Functional Morphology and Kinesiology. 2021;6(1):15. doi:

Ma BJ, Shanmugham S. Acute Ischemic Stroke Associated With OrthoVisc (Hyaluronic Acid) Injection. Journal of Medical Cases. 2017;8(7):219-223. doi: