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What Is Synvisc Made From?

author image Adam Cloe Ph.D./M.D.
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.


According to Medsafe, the New Zealand medical safety authority, Synvisc is a sterile viscous fluid that is designed to prevent inflammation. Made up hylan polymers, it has been formulated for injection. Hylans are chemically linked molecules of a modified version of hyaluronan, which is a polysaccharide made up of several simple sugars, otherwise known as monosaccharides. Specifically, hylan is made up of repeated subunits of acetylglucosamine that has been linked to glucronate. Synvisc is made up of hylan and hylan gels that have been dissolved in a salt mixture that has been designed to mimic the pH of the fluid that is found in joints.


The main ingredient of Synvisc is modified hyaluronan, which is a molecule that the body naturally produces and puts into synovial fluid, the fluid found in the joints. The main purpose of hyaluronan is to increase the viscosity of synovial fluid. Because hyaluronan is basically a very large and branched out sugar, it works to create a sort of gel, which in turn causes the fluid around it to become more viscous, helping the synovial fluid cushion the joint. Synvisc uses two kinds of hylan (modified hyaluronan) to increase the viscosity of the synovial fluid, both by using regular hylan molecules and hylan that has already been turned into a gel-like sphere.

Uses of Synvisc

According to, Synvisc injections are commonly used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis. People with osteoarthritis commonly have less synovial fluid, and what fluid they do have is less viscous. Synvisc injections are done by trained physicians who inject, on average, two milliliters of the liquid into the affected joint; it is most commonly used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee joint. Synvisc injections generally don't have any side effects aside from some mild swelling and pain for a short period of time after the injection. After a Synvisc injection, one should try to avoid any strain on the treated joint for approximately 48 hours.

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