One hundred and twenty-seven synovectomies were performed for rheumatoid arthritis of the knee at the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, Montreal, over the past 15 years. The authors have reviewed 56 synovectomies in 49 patients to determine whether the operation might have any prophylactic value.
They conclude that synovectomy of the knee can delay or prevent gross joint destruction if the operation is performed during the synovial phase of the disease. If it is performed too late, the operation can at best only salvage an already damaged knee.
The surgical technique, the operative indications and the postoperative regimen are described.