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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Synovial Chondromatosis

Other Names for this Disease
  • Synovial osteochondromatosis
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What is synovial chondromatosis?

What causes synovial chondromatosis?

What is synovial chondromatosis?

Synovial chondromatosis is a type of non-cancerous tumor that arises in the lining of a joint. The knee is most commonly affected, however it can affect any joint. The tumors begin as small nodules of cartilage. These nodules can separate and become loose within the joint.[1] Some tumors may be no larger than a grain of rice.[2] Synovial chondromatosis most commonly occurs in adults ages 20 to 50. Signs and symptoms may include pain, swelling, a decreased range of motion, and locking of the joint.[1][2] The exact underlying cause of the condition is unknown.[1] Treatment may involve surgery to remove the tumor. Recurrence of the condition is common.[1]
Last updated: 6/24/2013

What causes synovial chondromatosis?

The exact underlying cause of synovial chondromatosis is unknown.[3][4] Some research suggests that trauma may play a role in its development because the condition primarily occurs in weight-bearing joints. Infection has also been considered as a contributing factor.[4] The condition is not inherited.[3]

Synovial chondromatosis can reportedly occur as either a primary or secondary form. Primary synovial chondromatosis, which is more rare, occurs spontaneously and does not appear to relate to any pre-existing conditions. Secondary synovial chondromatosis is the more common form and often occurs when there is pre-existent osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, osteochondritis dissecans, neuropathic osteoarthropathy (which often occurs in diabetic individuals), tuberculosis, or osteochondral fractures (torn cartilage covering the end of a bone in a joint) in the affected individual.[5]
Last updated: 6/24/2013

  1. Synovial chondromatosis. Children's Hospital Boston. Accessed 5/18/2011.
  2. Joint tumors. Merck Manual. Accessed 5/18/2011.
  3. Synovial Chondromatosis. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. May 2011; Accessed 6/24/2013.
  4. Synovial chondromatosis. Boston Children's Hospital. 2011; Accessed 6/24/2013.
  5. Nicolai B Baecher. Synovial Chondromatosis. Medscape Reference. August 8, 2012; Accessed 6/24/2013.