Test Details & Preparation
Synovectomy refers to the destruction or surgical removal of the membrane (synovium) that lines a joint. As the largest articulation and the one most frequently affected by chronic inflammation, the knee is the joint most often selected for synovectomy. Open surgical, chemical, radiation, and arthroscopic synovectomies are all options for removing potentially damaging synovium from the knee.
Radiation synovectomy (RSV) can be used in the treatment of osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), recurrent effusion, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis (with chronic skin condition psoriasis) and joint inflammation with spondylitis ankylosans.
Radiation synovectomy (RSV) is an outpatient procedure. A radioactive substance is injected directly into the affected joint using the X-ray guidance of a fluoroscopy or ultrasound-based device. If several joints are affected, then multiple treatment sessions are required. In one session up to three small joints, one to two medium joints, or one large joint may be treated.
The cells of the synovial membrane absorb the radioactive substance quickly. It has an extremely short range, so that their effect is limited to the interior of the joint, and thus the cartilage is not damaged.
Radiation synovectomy (RSV) has a high success rate - provided a nuclear-medicine specialist performs the treatment.
A significant reduction in pain is often already experienced after the first treatment. Usually patients are symptom-free about two to six months after treatment. A substantial number of patients experience permanent relief of pain, and significant improvement in joint mobility.
In general, the earlier the treatment is used in the course of the disease, the more lasting the effect. But even at an advanced stage of the disease, RSV proves very successful and is often a gentle alternative to knee surgery.