Arthroscopic synovectomy of the knee: Is it helpful?

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      We performed 211 arthroscopic synovectomies over a 10-year period. The results were assessed at follow-up of at least 2 years using the criteria of pain, synovitis, and effusion, range of motion and function. In rheumatoid knees (112 cases), we had good or excellent results in 80%. However, in seronegative arthritides (32 cases), only 60% were successful. Pigmented villonodular synovitis was successfully treated with an 11% recurrence rate (19 cases total). Synovial chondromatosis (17 cases) had no recurrences. In patients with nonspecific synovitis or posttraumatic synovitis, the synovitis was improved in 60% but only half the patients had pain relief and good function. Looking specifically at the posterior portals, there were five complications, all related to the posteromedial portal involving the saphenous nerve and vein. Overall excellent results can be achieved with due care and attention to detail.


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