Imaging of plant-thorn synovitis

Skeletal Radiol. 2000 Oct;29(10):605-8. doi: 10.1007/s002560000244.


We describe a case of plant-thorn synovitis of the elbow resulting from a thorn injury. This caused recurrent pain and swelling of the elbow over a 3-month period. A magnetic resonance imaging examination was initially requested to exclude septic arthritis, and demonstrated a joint effusion, synovitis, and a 2-cm linear opacity embedded in the synovium. Ultrasound was performed prior to surgery to confirm these findings and provide accurate localization of the thorn fragment, later removed at surgery. To our knowledge this is the first example of this condition that has been confirmed by radiological imaging prior to surgery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Elbow Joint / injuries*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / diagnosis*
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Plant Structures
  • Plants*
  • Synovitis / diagnosis*
  • Synovitis / etiology*