Native hyaluronan (HA) has been oxidized to polyaldehyde polymers with a degree of substitution (DS) of up to 50%. Two different procedures enabling the control of the degree of substitution were followed in this study. Selective oxidation of primary hydroxyl groups of N-acetyl-D-glucosamine of hyaluronan was performed either in an aqueous solution containing AcNH-TEMPO/NaBr/NaOCl or in an aprotic solvent containing Dess-Martin periodinane (DMP). It was found that a change of reaction parameters (reaction time and temperature, type of catalyst, oxidant-to-HA ratio, presence of nitrogen, buffer type, and concentration) had an influence on the degree of substitution and molecular weight. The derivatives were characterized by MS, NMR spectroscopy, and SEC-MALLS. Degradation of hyaluronic acid by the oxidant was observed and confirmed by SEC. The effect of oxidized derivatives of hyaluronan on cells was studied by means of NIH 3T3 fibroblast viability, which indicates that prepared hyaluronan polyaldehydes are biocompatible and suitable for medical applications and tissue engineering. The function of polyaldehyde as precursor for other modification was illustrated in the reaction with lysine.