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March 1, 1929


Author Affiliations

From the Orthopaedic Service of the Massachusetts General Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1929;18(3):824-840. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1929.04420040056006

HISTORY  Removal by operation of the synovial membrane from any articulation is called synovectomy. The first mention in surgical literature of this operation was made by Volkmann in 1877. The operation he described was the removal of the synovial membrane of a tuberculous knee. In 1895, Alberton reported two successful cases in which the operation was performed through lateral incisions for chronic infectious arthritis following penetrating wounds of the knee. The first record of a complete synovectomy in chronic arthritis is an article by Mignon1 in 1899, in which he reported the removal of all the synovia from the anterior compartment of the knee. In a patient with chronic traumatic arthritis with hydrops of the joint, he reported a complete restoration of function in six months. Goldthwaite,2 in 1900, reported a series of partial synovectomies with good results.The literature contains nothing more of importance until 1916, when Murphy3 reported

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