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Debunking Common Myths About Orthovisc

David Fuller

Last Updated On: April 23, 2024

According to Drugs.com, Orthovisc injections mimic the fluid surrounding our joints, offering an effective solution to osteoarthritis. This fact underscores the innovative ways modern medicine seeks to alleviate joint pain and improve mobility. 

However, myths and misconceptions about Orthovisc’s efficacy and safety persist, clouding patient perceptions and decision-making. A common misunderstanding is that Orthovisc only offers short-term relief and doesn’t help much in the long run. Also, some people worry about its safety and side effects, making them unsure about using it.

This article aims to debunk these common myths, provide evidence-based insights, and clarify the role of the Orthovisc in managing osteoarthritis symptoms.

Key Takeaways

  • Orthovisc, a hyaluronic acid treatment, mimics natural joint fluid to alleviate osteoarthritis. After three to four injections, it offers up to six months of pain relief.
  • It is suitable for a wide age range, not just elderly patients, providing a flexible and less invasive alternative to surgery.
  • Injection discomfort is generally mild and manageable, with the procedure being less painful and having fewer side effects than surgical options.
  • Orthovisc does not provide instant relief; improvements in joint function and pain reduction gradually occur over the weeks following the injections.
  • While effective, the treatment’s benefits are not permanent; follow-up treatments may be necessary to maintain its effects.

What is Orthovisc?

Dispelling Orthovisc myths

Composition and Function

The primary component of Orthovisc is hyaluronic acid, specifically highly purified sodium hyaluronate, dissolved in physiologic saline. This biocompatible and resorbable formulation is designed to replace or supplement the natural synovial fluid lost in osteoarthritis. 

By doing so, Orthovisc acts as a lubricant and shock absorber within the joint, providing up to six months of pain relief and functionality improvement with just 3 to 4 injections, effectively demonstrating that Orthovisc does work.

How Orthovisc Differs from Other Treatments

Orthovisc distinguishes itself from other osteoarthritis treatments through its minimally invasive application and high-molecular-weight hyaluronic acid composition. Orthovisc directly supplements the joint’s lubricating fluid unlike steroid injections or pain medications. 

This approach is targeted to support natural joint function without surgery or drugs. This treatment gained full FDA approval in 2004, highlighting its effectiveness and safety for managing osteoarthritis in the knee​​.

Myth 1: Orthovisc is Just for Elderly Patients

The Truth About Age and Orthovisc Treatment

Contrary to the myth that Orthovisc is only for older adults, it is suitable for a wide age range of patients experiencing knee osteoarthritis. 

The condition, often associated with age, can affect individuals as young as their 20s. Orthovisc offers a versatile solution that caters to anyone who has not seen adequate relief from conservative non-pharmacologic therapy and simple analgesics, regardless of age​​.

Broad Range of Patients Who Benefit

Orthovisc’s benefits are not limited by age; it is a viable option for people looking for an alternative to more invasive treatments like knee surgery. It’s particularly beneficial for those who have exhausted conventional physical therapy and exercise treatments. 

The procedure involves one injection per week for three to four weeks, with the possibility of repeating the treatment as necessary, making it a flexible option for managing osteoarthritis symptoms over time​​.

Myth 2: Orthovisc Treatments are Extremely Painful

Comparing Discomfort Levels to Other Procedures

The discomfort associated with Orthovisc injections is generally considered mild and manageable, especially when compared to the pain from surgical procedures or the discomfort that can come with chronic osteoarthritis. 

Orthovisc, a non-surgical treatment option, involves minimally invasive injections typically well-tolerated by patients. The side effects, such as pain, redness, swelling, or bruising at the injection site, are usually temporary and can be easily managed with simple aftercare measures like ice and restarting the affected joint​​​​.

What to Expect During and After the Injection

During the Orthovisc injection process, patients might experience a brief sensation of discomfort or pressure, which is common with any injection procedure. However, the procedure is quick, and many find it more manageable than anticipated. 

After the injection, it’s normal to experience some minor side effects, such as swelling or pain at the injection site. However, these typically subside within a few days. Most patients can resume their normal daily activities shortly after the procedure, making Orthovisc a convenient option for those seeking relief from joint pain without significant downtime​​.

Myth 3: Immediate Surgery is a Better Option

The Role of Orthovisc in Treatment Plans

Orthovisc plays a vital role in comprehensive treatment plans for osteoarthritis, especially for those looking to delay or avoid surgery. It provides a less invasive option that can offer significant pain relief and improved joint function. 

Orthovisc injections can help many patients by reducing the need for more aggressive treatments such as knee replacement surgery. They supplement the joint’s natural lubrication and help preserve its existing structure. This can be particularly beneficial for those who are not immediate candidates for surgery or who wish to explore less invasive options first​​​​.

Considering Non-Surgical Options First

Orthovisc is recommended after trying basic treatments like physical therapy and pain medication but before surgery. This gradual approach lets patients consider various less risky treatments than surgery. Choosing Orthovisc as a non-surgical option enables patients to make informed decisions about their care, potentially finding effective relief without resorting to more invasive methods.

Myth 4: Orthovisc Offers Instant Relief

Understanding the Timeline for Results

Orthovisc injections are designed to alleviate knee pain caused by osteoarthritis, but they don’t provide instant relief. The treatment involves one injection per week for three to four weeks, and it may take some time after the series of injections to notice significant improvements. 

Many patients start to feel relief after the second or third injection. However, the full effect of the treatment might only be apparent four to six weeks after the initial injection. This timeline is important for setting realistic expectations and understanding that patience is key when waiting for the outcomes of Orthovisc treatment​​.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Patients should not expect immediate pain relief after their first Orthovisc injection. The hyaluronic acid supplementing the synovial fluid in the knee joint takes time, and improvement in joint function and pain reduction will gradually occur over the weeks following the injections. 

Patients must have realistic expectations and follow their healthcare provider’s guidance on aftercare and managing symptoms in the interim​​.

Myth 5: Orthovisc Results are Permanent

Duration of Treatment Effects

Orthovisc relieves osteoarthritis knee pain for up to six months following 3 to 4 injections. While the treatment can significantly improve joint mobility and reduce pain, the results are not permanent. As the injected hyaluronic acid gradually diminishes over time, symptoms of osteoarthritis may re-emerge, indicating the potential need for follow-up treatments to maintain the benefits​​.

The Importance of Follow-Up Treatments

The benefits of Orthovisc for osteoarthritis are temporary, so patients may need follow-up treatments to manage their symptoms effectively. Discussing the timing for additional injections with a healthcare provider is advised to ensure ongoing relief. Regular treatment plans are crucial for prolonging knee function and pain reduction. Testimonials highlight Orthovisc’s long-term effectiveness with consistent follow-up care.

Myth 6: There are No Side Effects or Risks

Common Side Effects

Orthovisc has potential side effects like any medical treatment, though they’re generally mild and manageable. Patients may experience joint pain, stiffness, swelling, itching, numbness, or tingling around the injection site.

Other possible side effects include headache, dizziness, back pain, and mild discomfort where the injection was given. These effects are typically short-lived and can be easily managed with basic care, such as applying ice and resting the affected area​​​​.

Rare Risks and How to Mitigate Them

While serious side effects are rare, they can occur, including allergic reactions, bleeding, increased knee pain, and signs of infection like warmth, swelling, and redness around the knee. 

It’s important to inform your healthcare provider if you have any allergies, particularly to gram-positive bacteria proteins, a bleeding disorder, or an infection in your knee. To mitigate these risks, avoid strenuous activities for at least 48 hours after the injection to allow the joint to recover​​.

Understanding the Science Behind Orthovisc

Correcting Orthovisc misconceptions

How Orthovisc Works on a Cellular Level

Orthovisc is a viscosupplementation treatment using hyaluronic acid, which is naturally found in the synovial fluid around joints. This treatment helps supplement the body’s natural joint fluid, improve lubrication, act as a shock absorber, alleviate pain, and improve joint mobility. Hyaluronic acid’s molecular structure allows it to bind water, which helps maintain the lubricating properties of the joint fluid​​.

Clinical Studies Supporting Orthovisc

Clinical studies have shown Orthovisc to be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis knee pain, especially in patients who haven’t found relief from other treatments. The procedure involves a series of injections that relieve pain for up to six months. 

These studies highlight Orthovisc’s role in improving joint function and reducing pain, making it a valuable option for managing osteoarthritis symptoms. Orthovisc offers a targeted approach that supports natural joint function without requiring surgery or drugs​​by directly supplementing the joint’s lubricating fluid.

The Importance of Professional Consultation

Evaluating if Orthovisc is Right for You

Orthovisc is a prescription medication for knee pain due to osteoarthritis, often used when other treatments fail. It mimics synovial fluid, improving joint lubrication and reducing pain. It’s suitable for those needing more than conventional arthritis medications​​.

What to Discuss with Your Healthcare Provider

Discuss any allergies, especially to hyaluronan, existing knee or skin infections, or bleeding disorders, as these could affect your suitability for Orthovisc. Also, consider your activity levels post-injection, as certain activities should be avoided for 48 hours to ensure treatment efficacy​​.


Orthovisc offers a promising solution for managing osteoarthritis symptoms, effectively debunking myths about its limited applicability, excessive pain during treatment, superiority of immediate surgery, instant relief, and permanence of results. It’s essential for patients to have realistic expectations and to discuss their specific situation with a healthcare provider to determine if Orthovisc is the right option for them.

About: Since 2016, Med Supply Solutions has established itself as a leading and trusted supplier in the cosmetic and viscosupplementation industry, regularly addressing crucial questions like “does Orthovisc work” to inform and support medical practices. We offer competitive pricing to boost profitability and maximize the use of resources for healthcare providers. Each client enjoys the support of a dedicated VIP sales agent, ensuring a smooth and comfortable purchasing experience. This approach allows our clients to access high-quality products easily and at great prices, continually enhancing patient care.


  1. What is Orthovisc, and how does it work?

Orthovisc is a treatment for knee osteoarthritis that uses hyaluronic acid injections to mimic natural synovial fluid. This improves joint lubrication and reduces pain for up to six months.

  1. Who is suitable for Orthovisc treatment?

Orthovisc is suitable for patients of a wide age range experiencing knee osteoarthritis, especially those who haven’t found adequate relief from non-pharmacologic therapy and analgesics.

  1. Are Orthovisc injections painful?

The discomfort from Orthovisc injections is generally mild and manageable, with most patients finding the procedure less painful than anticipated, especially when compared to the discomfort of osteoarthritis or surgical options.

  1. How quickly does Orthovisc start to work?

Patients may start to feel relief after the second or third injection. However, the full effects of Orthovisc typically become apparent four to six weeks after the initial injection.

  1. Do I need to repeat Orthovisc treatment?

While Orthovisc can relieve symptoms for up to six months, the effects are not permanent. Follow-up treatments may be necessary to maintain the benefits, with the timing to be discussed with your healthcare provider.


Drugs.com. (n.d.). Orthovisc. Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/orthovisc.html 

Anika Therapeutics, Inc. (n.d.). Orthovisc®. Retrieved from https://anika.com/medical/products/orthovisc/ 

Concoff, A., Sancheti, P., Niazi, F., Shaw, P., & Rosen, J. (n.d.). A comprehensive review of viscosupplementation in osteoarthritis of the knee. Orthopedic Reviews. Retrieved from https://orthopedicreviews.openmedicalpublishing.org/article/25549-a-comprehensive-review-of-viscosupplementation-in-osteoarthritis-of-the-knee 

BMJ. (2022). Viscosupplementation for knee osteoarthritis: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ, 378. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj-2022-069722 FindaTopDoc. (n.d.). Orthovisc (Hyaluronan) Injection: Uses, Dosage & Side Effects. Retrieved from https://www.findatopdoc.com/Medical-Library/Drugs-and-Supplements/Orthovisc



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