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Orthopedics. 2010 Jun 9;33(6):442. doi: 10.3928/01477447-20100429-31.

Arthroscopic treatment of pigmented villonodular synovitis involving bilateral shoulders.

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  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) is a lesion of benign proliferative synovium that invades joint, tendon sheath, and bursa. It mainly occurs in 1 joint, the knee joint or hand, and multi-joint invasion is reported to be <1%. Rare cases have been reported of PVNS occurring in the shoulder joint. Generally, total synovectomy is a standard treatment of PVNS. However, complete synovectomy is sometimes impossible because of difficulty of visualization and access to the whole joint and subacromial space. Therefore, recurrence of the disease is always of concern. This article presents a case of 64-year-old patient with pain and swelling of bilateral shoulder joints of 4 months' duration. Physical examination showed atrophy of the deltoid and infraspinatus and a mass-like protrusion on the anterior portion of left shoulder. Active forward elevation was limited to 30 degrees on the right and 90 degrees on the left. Overall synovial hyperplasia and nodular mass was observed on magnetic resonance imaging. Massive rotator cuff tear and invasion of the lesion toward the subacromial space and deltoid muscle was noted as well. Arthroscopic examination revealed a typical finding of PVNS: yellowish brown pigmentation over the overall joint capsule and subacromial space. Arthroscopic total synovectomy without rotator cuff repair was performed for both shoulders. Clinical outcomes showed good pain relief and no recurrence of the disease, although range of motion and muscle strength was not significantly improved, possibly due to accompanied massive rotator cuff tear. Arthroscopic total synovectomy in the treatment of PVNS of the shoulder joint is a minimally invasive and effective method, which makes it possible to access the whole joint space and subacromial space.

Copyright 2010, SLACK Incorporated.

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