This is a minimum two year follow-up of 26 rheumatoid elbows that underwent arthroscopic synovectomy for symptoms failing conservative care. The authors report that at a mean of 34 months, the visual analog pains scale results decreased from 6.5 to 3.1. The arc of flexion-extension improved from 100 to 113 degrees at follow-up. The Mayo Elbow score improved from 59-77. In conclusion, the authors report two excellent, 17 good, four fair and three poor results. Clinically apparent synovitis reoccurred in four elbows during the study period.
This article demonstrates that in selected patients with rheumatoid arthritis, arthroscopic synovectomy provides some short-term relief at the two to three year mark. Results seem to deteriorate with time which is not unlike other reports on synovectomy in this population. Fortunately, improvement in disease modifying agents is making this population with uncontrolled synovitis smaller and smaller. The moderate improvements noted should be related to the patient prior to the procedure.