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Clin Rheumatol. 2004 Feb;23(1):31-4. Epub 2004 Jan 9.

MRI features of pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS).

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Department of Radiology, Beijing Ji Shui Tan Hospital, Peking University, 100035, Beijing, China.


The aim of this study was to characterize the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) features of PVNS. The radiographs and MR images of 23 pathologically proven cases of PVNS were retrospectively reviewed, with emphasis on MR images. There were 9 males and 14 females, mean age 36 years. Of 23 cases, 9 occurred in the hip, 8 in the knee, 3 in the ankle, 2 in the elbow and 1 in the wrist. Typical MRI findings included variable extent of nodular synovial proliferation, from mild proliferation to extensive masses, joint effusion in all cases, and multiple bony erosions in 15. Owing to the tight joint space, bone involvement was frequently seen in the hip, ankle, elbow and wrist. Although the knee joint had a loose capsule, bone involvement was rarely seen. Hemosiderin is a magnetic material, its deposit on proliferative synovial tissue resulting in a spotty low signal or extensive low signal area within the proliferative synovial masses on T(1)- (T1WI) and T(2)-weighted (T2WI) images, best seen on fast field echo (FFE) sequence MRI images. Fat-suppressed sequences obscured the deposit. This is diagnostic of PVNS. The MRI features of PVNS include variable extent of synovial proliferation, joint effusion and erosion of bone, and in particular the deposit of hemosiderin within the synovial masses. The deposit of hemosiderin, appearing as a low signal area best seen on FFE sequence, is diagnostic for PVNS.

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