CNY Orthopedic Sports Medicine, PC: Article: Synvisc Injections for Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Defects


Synvisc Injections for Osteoarthritis and Cartilage Defects
Evan Herold
Copyright 2000

Synvisc injections may be suitable for patients who have not responded to traditional physical therapy or NSAID use. Synvisc is made from hydraluronan, a substance present in normal joint fluid that helps keep the knee joint elastic and viscous, and also allows the knee to better absorb shock.

A physician will administer Synvisc through a series of injections. Generally, this will include a weekly injection for 3 or 4 weeks. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area of the injection, and the physician will assess the position of your patella to determine the injection site. If any synovial fluid has collected and has caused swelling within the joint, the fluid will be aspirated. The physician will then inject the Synvisc directly into the joint.

Complications and Risk

  • Mild pain at the injection site, which will decrease immediately after the treatment.
  • Some patients experience a mild rash, bruising, or sensation of heat at the injection site.
  • Synvisc is an avian product; patients allergic to eggs, poultry or feathers are likely to have allergic reactions and may not be good candidates for Synvisc treatment.

    Expectations of Recovery

  • The effectiveness for Synvisc varies from patient to patient. Some patients may feel relief after the first injection, although the remaining injections will still be necessary
  • Patients typically have pain relief for an average of 8 to 9 months, although the injections may provide relief for up to 12 months. If the patient responds well to the treatment, Synvisc injections can be repeated after their effectiveness wears off.


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