Reactive synovitis after silicone arthroplasty

J Hand Surg Am. 1986 Sep;11(5):624-38. doi: 10.1016/s0363-5023(86)80002-8.


A number of patients with silicone rubber implants performed by us and other surgeons initially had excellent results; however, they returned with swelling and discomfort. We studied 18 patients ranging in age from 16 years to 57 years who presented 8 to 78 months (average, 31.7 months) after silicone arthroplasty (four scaphoid, six lunate, one scapholunate, four finger, two wrist, one trapezium, and one ulnar head for metacarpal hemiarthroplasty). Erosive osteolysis was seen on x-ray films, with progressive destruction evident in patients followed serially. None of the patients' conditions responded to conservative care. The severity of the proliferative, inflammatory synovitis and the foreign material in the multinucleated giant cells correlated with the interval since arthroplasty. Implant surface analysis by scanning electron microscope and x-ray spectrometer showed that silicone microparticles were the result of implant degeneration and erosion. All joint cultures were negative. Silicone particulate synovitis and destruction were arrested by the removal of the implant, a synovectomy, and curettage of the lytic lesions at salvage (resection arthroplasty or arthrodesis). Patients who have had silicone arthroplasties should be followed indefinitely, at regular intervals, by x-ray films and clinical examination.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arthroplasty*
  • Female
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Prostheses and Implants / adverse effects*
  • Radiography
  • Reoperation
  • Silicone Elastomers / adverse effects*
  • Synovitis / diagnostic imaging
  • Synovitis / etiology*


  • Silicone Elastomers