Pigmented villonodular synovitis of the elbow treated with the Tsuge wide joint exposure technique

Shuichi Chida, Kyoji Okada, Shu Takahashi, Hiroyuki Nagasawa, Hiroshi Sasaki, Yoichi Shimada
Orthopedics 2010, 33 (2): 122-4
Pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) is a benign, locally aggressive disease of the synovium; its cause remains unclear. The most frequently involved joint is the knee, followed by the hip, ankle, wrist, and shoulder. Pigmented villonodular synovitis of the elbow joint is rare. Synovectomy is currently believed to be the best treatment for PVNS. Open or arthroscopic synovectomy is usually selected. During synovectomy for PVNS, the possibility of local recurrence after surgery must be considered. The recurrence rate after synovectomy of any joint for PVNS is approximately 40%. Therefore, surgical treatment for PVNS of the elbow requires sufficient removal of the lesion. For good functional results, prevention of postoperative joint stiffness is also necessary. This article describes a case of a 29-year-old woman with PVNS of the right elbow who was treated by total synovectomy using the Tsuge technique. Tsuge reported a new surgical technique for debridement arthroplasty using a posterolateral approach to the elbow in 1987. He has also reported using this procedure during arthroplasty for posttraumatic stiff elbow and for synovectomy in rheumatoid arthritis. This approach permits easy dislocation of the elbow and provides a good view of the whole joint. Although the recurrence rate of PVNS of the elbow is high, our patient has retained good elbow function with no evidence of local recurrence at 30 months postoperatively.

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