1. What is Elbow Joint Synovial Osteochondromatosis?
This condition is seen in young patients between the ages of 20-45 years. The inner
lining of the elbow joint starts to abnormally produce excess cartilage and bone like
tissue. Normally this lining produces a lubricating fluid. These cartilage-like loose
bodies within the elbow joint initially irritate and then abrade the cartilage of the
joint. Cartilage is the protective covering over the joint surface. Loss of this
protective covering leads to arthritis and damage of the elbow joint.
2. What are the symptoms?
Patients have pain and swelling in the elbow, and other activities of daily living.
In early cases patients are apparently normal but cannot walk long distances and
complain of a particular heaviness of the elbow joint.
3. What is the treatment?
Elbow arthroscopy i.e surgery through small puncture wounds around the elbow is
needed. All the loose bodies and the joint lining is removed. This surgery avoids the
traditional method where a big incision was taken, splitting the muscles and doing the
4. What is the hospital stay and the recovery period?
The stay in hospital is 2-3 days and patients can start walking with walker as soon
as pain is tolerable. Usually patients are able to get back to office within 2-3
5. Is there a chance of recurrence?
Yes, rarely this condition may recur but there it can be treated.
6. Why does this condition occur?
The cause of this condition is not known. Many researchers have tried to find a cause
but could not.
7. What are loose bodies?
These are free pieces of bone or cartilage, which lie within the elbow joint. They
are like pebbles in a flowing river. They move within the joint with joint movement. A
foreign body in the eye irritates the eye and the eye turns red and painful. Similarly
a loose body in a joint irritates and over a long period of time causes destruction
and arthritis of the joint.
8. How does a loose body come in the elbow joint?
Usually a loose body enters the elbow joint after a significant elbow joint injury
like road accident or fall from height, which causes a fracture of either bone of the
elbow joint. The other cause is synovial osteochondromatosis.
9. What are the symptoms and treatment for loose bodies?
The symptoms, treatment and recovery are similar to what has been given for synovial