Arthroscopy of the Elbow for Synovial Chondromatosis

J. W. Thomas Byrd, MD


J South Orthop Assoc. 2000;9(2) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Two cases of arthroscopic removal of multiple loose bodies are presented. Successful results were achieved, and patients had 4-year follow-up. Both cases involved classic manifestations of synovial chondromatosis. Associated degenerative changes were present in one case; histologic examination could not confirm synovial origin of the disease. Arthroscopy for removal of symptomatic loose bodies is an excellent choice as exemplified by these two cases. Care should be taken to review histologic findings, which may help in understanding the natural history of this type of process.

Arthroscopic surgery of the elbow is a well-established technique. [1,2,3,4] The success of this type of surgery is dependent on proper indications, a thorough understanding of the anatomy of the elbow, and careful attention to technique in portal placement during operative arthroscopy.

Loose body removal is characteristically one of the most gratifying of all arthroscopic procedures. [5] Patient satisfaction is usually high. This is also true for removal of loose bodies associated with disease, such as synovial chondromatosis. Removal of symptomatic loose bodies about the elbow is equally as gratifying as for other joints. [6] The elbow is the second most commonly affected joint in synovial chondromatosis, with the knee being the most frequent site of involvement. [7]

These two cases of multiple loose bodies about the elbow were treated with arthroscopic debridement. Clinical presentation, evaluation, arthroscopic findings, histologic findings, and response to treatment are discussed.