How Is Synovitis of the Wrist Treated?


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A health care provider may treat wrist synovitis with glucocorticoid steroid injections into the joint or by prescribing antirheumatic medications, according to David Hildreth, M.D. A synovectomy may be necessary in certain cases, which is a procedure in which a physician removes the inflamed synovium from the affected joint. One to two weeks after a synovectomy, a patient begins physical therapy to restore range of motion.

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Synovitis often occurs alongside carpal tunnel syndrome, explains Dr. David Hildreth. With wrist synovitis, a patient's synovial membrane, which lines the joints in the wrist, is inflamed. This compresses the median nerve as it travels through the carpal tunnel. This condition is common in individuals with arthritis, and physicians also see this condition in younger patients who participate in activities that place stress on the wrist, such as gymnastics and tennis.

To diagnose wrist synovitis, the physician reviews the patient's medical history, conducts a physical examination of the patient, and evaluates the pain the patient is experiencing, reports Dr. David Hildreth. A physician may order a magnetic resource imaging, or MRI, scan to confirm the diagnosis and identify the vulnerable areas.

If a physician determines a synovectomy is necessary, he may opt to conduct the procedure arthroscopically or as open surgery, according to Dr. David Hildreth. The physician administers a local or general aesthetic to the patient and may pump a saline solution into the joint to both clean the joint and provide greater visibility by increasing the joint space. Using small surgical tools and suction equipment, the physician removes the affected tissue and evaluates the surrounding area to check for floating debris or tissue damage.

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