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September 12, 1977

Brodie's Abscess of the Patella

Author Affiliations

From the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (Drs Miller, Murphy, and Gilula) and the Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine (Dr Kantor), St Louis.

JAMA. 1977;238(11):1179-1180. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280120071021

IN 1832, Sir Benjamin C. Brodie described localized chronic osteomyelitis in the tibia.1 Since then, Brodie's abscess has been most often encountered in the tibial and femoral metaphyses and less commonly in the distal radius, ulna, or vertebrae.2 To our knowledge, this is the first complete case report of Brodie's abscess of the patella.

Report of a Case  Three years prior to admission, at 24 years of age, our patient "smashed his knee on a pipe" with resulting stiffness and swelling that spontaneously resolved, leaving chronic exertional discomfort. After a year of recurrent pain and swelling, neither plain roentgenograms nor an arthrogram demonstrated any abnormalities. Since anti-inflammatory medication could not control symptoms during the next several months, arthroscopy was performed and demonstrated inflamed synovium, confirmed as synovitis by biopsy. Cultures of joint fluid were negative. Although therapeutic doses of aspirin attained partial symptomatic palliation for the following several