J Korean Orthop Assoc.  2008 Feb;43(1):131-134. 10.4055/jkoa.2008.43.1.131.

Synovial Chondromatosis of the Metacarpophalangeal Joint: A Case Report

  • 1Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Wonkwang University Hospital, Iksan, Korea. osksh@wonkwang.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Hana Hospital, Iksan, Korea.


Synovial chondromatosis is an uncommon lesion, which is characterized by cartilaginous and osseous metaplasia of the joint synovium. Synovial chondromatosis usually involves a large joint and rarely occurs in the hand. Intra-articular synovial chondromatosis during the hand should be considered in the differential diagnosis of swollen, stiff or painful joints. Other possible diagnoses include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, trauma and chronic infection. Moreover, if enchondral ossification of loose bodies is not seen a diagnosis of synovial chondromatosis can not be made preoperatively. Intra-articular synovial chondromatosis is a benign condition and surgical synovectomy remains the most effective treatment. The authors report a case of synovial chondromatosis of the fifth metacarpophalangeal joint.


Fifth metacarpophalangeal joint; Synovial chondromatosis

MeSH Terms

Arthritis, Rheumatoid
Chondromatosis, Synovial
Diagnosis, Differential
Synovial Membrane


  • Fig. 1 Hand radiographs showing bony erosion of fifth metacarpal head and several calcifications of 1 to 2 millimeters in size.

  • Fig. 2 (A, B) T1-weighted MR images depicting an iso-intense intra-articular lesion (arrows). (C, D) T2-weighted MR images showing an intra-articular body of low signal intensity (arrowhead). The central area has the signal characteristics of hyaline cartilage.

  • Fig. 3 Intraoperative clinical photographs. (A) Approximately a 3×2 cm sized mass was exposed from the proximal third of the 5th metacarpal bone to the metacarpophalangeal joint. (B) Numerous chondrous nodules in the capsule wall were flowed out.


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