What is the pathophysiology of plica syndrome?

Updated: Apr 20, 2020
  • Author: Tracy Lee Bigelow, DO; Chief Editor: Thomas M DeBerardino, MD  more...
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Not all synovial plicae are symptomatic. For those that are, the cause may not always be apparent.

Inflammation leads to edema, thickening, and decreased elasticity of the plica. The plica may develop irregular edges and may snap over the femoral condyle, leading to a secondary synovitis and chondromalacia. Loose areolar fatty tissue appears to become gristlelike, and when plicae are soft, wavy, and vascular with synovium-covered edges, they are not pathologic. Numerous studies describe pathologic plicae as thick, fibrotic, white, and inelastic. Histologically, fibrosis, hyalinization, and calcification are present. [6]

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