Joints are maintained and supported by ligaments and the joint capsule. There are several layers of the joint capsule but the inner one is known as the synovial membrane. The synovial membrane is in charge with production of the synovial liquid, oily liquid necessary for proper lubrication of joints. The joint capsule may get inflamed and this condition is medically known as synovitis. Synovitis features with excessive production of the synovial fluid which consequently causes swelling of the affected joint.
Synovitis usually affects people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis and lupus erythematosus. It is also common for psoriatic arthritis. Apart from that synovitis can be associated with other conditions such as rheumatic fever, tuberculosis, gout or occur as a consequence of trauma.
The symptoms of synovitis include swelling of the affected joint. The joint is warm and feels puffy or boggy to touch. The very process of inflammation may last for years. The joint components undergo degenerative changes and the joint cartilage gradually deteriorates. In people suffering from inflammatory arthritis there is evident overgrowth of the synovium.
Diagnosis of synovitis can be set after physical examination but the condition must be confirmed by analysis of the synovial fluid. The test is very useful and may help in diagnosing some types of the arthritis.
Conservative Treatment for Synovitis
Non-surgical treatment for synovitis includes anti-inflammatory medications such as Aspirin or ibuprofen. Patients are also administered corticosteroids. Steroids can be directly injected into the affected joint. In severe form of arthritis and consequent synovitis patients are prescribed disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs.
Surgery for Synovitis
People suffering from arthritis and consequent synovitis are initially treated with previously mentioned medications. However, if non-surgical treatment does not help the only option left is surgical treatment. So, perfect candidates for the surgery include all those patients who simply do not benefit from medicamentous therapy and whose symptoms and signs of synovitis persist.
Synovectomy is a surgical procedure in which much of the synovium is removed. The surgery may eliminate all the symptoms but many patients still require medications even after they have been operated. Synovectomy is performed either as an open surgery or arthroscopically. Many joints of the body can be operated this way including knees, elbows, wrists, finger joints, and hips. The surgery can be rather effective in alleviation of pain. After the operation patients are due to continue with the prescribed medications in order to prevent damage to other joints. There may be minor complications after synovectomy and stiffness is the most common. This complication is treated with physical therapy.