Treatment of Advanced Primary and Recurrent Diffuse Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis of the Knee

Orthopedic Spine Surgeon Dr. Kingsley R. Chin Medical Paper

Scientific Paper

Chin KR1Barr SJWinalski CZurakowski DBrick GW.

Interested medical professionals can read through the full paper, as published in the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, here.


Diffuse pigmented villonodular synovitis of the knee is a difficult tumor to eradicate. We report our experience with a combined open posterior and anterior synovectomy with and without adjuvant postoperative radiation therapy in patients with advanced extracapsular disease.


A single surgeon operated on forty patients, with an average age of thirty-five years (range, fourteen to sixty-eight years), who had diffuse pigmented villonodular synovitis of the knee. All patients had been referred to us after having initially undergone arthroscopic or open surgical procedures without eradication of the disease. Patients were retrospectively placed into one of three groups: Group I received surgery alone (five patients), Group II had surgery and intra-articular radiation synovectomy with use of dysprosium-165 (thirty patients), and Group III had surgery and external beam radiation (five patients). Adjuvant radiation was performed three months postoperatively. Magnetic resonance imaging was used for all patients for preoperative staging and postoperative follow-up.


The average Knee Society score for the entire series improved from 61 points preoperatively to 92 points at the time of follow-up, at an average of five years (range, 1.5 to eight years) (p < 0.001). There was also a significant (p < 0.001) increase in the average range of motion of the knees across all groups. On the basis of the Knee Society scores, thirty-seven patients (93%) had a good or excellent result, two patients had a fair result, and one patient had a poor result. Complications included stiffness requiring manipulation in three knees, one case of reflex sympathetic dystrophy, advanced osteoarthritis leading to a total knee replacement in four patients, and seven recurrences (a prevalence of 18%) after operative treatment and radiation therapy.


This surgical technique allows excellent visualization and removal of intra-articular and extra-articular diffuse pigmented villonodular tissue and yields excellent functional results and a low prevalence of knee stiffness. However, the rate of recurrence detected by magnetic resonance imaging was 18%. Adjuvant intra-articular radiation therapy may be beneficial for eradication of small foci of residual disease, but complete resection of all pigmented villonodular tissue appears to be the key to preventing recurrence. Magnetic resonance imaging was essential for accurate preoperative staging of the tumor and for follow-up since the presence of residual disease did not reliably correlate with the clinical findings. Patients with minimal degenerative arthritis and primary or recurrent extra-articular disease will benefit most from this approach.

About Author Dr. Kingsley R. Chin

Postoperative Cervical Haematoma Complicated by Ipsilateral Carotid Thrombosis and Aphasia After Anterior Cervical Fusion: a Case Report
Dr. Kingsley R. Chin, Founder of philosophy and practice of The LES Society and The LESS Institute

Dr. Kingsley R. Chin is a board certified Harvard-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and professor with copious business and information technology exposure. He sees a niche opportunity where medicine, business and info. tech meet – and is uniquely educated at the intersection of these three professions. He has experience as Professor of Clinical Biomedical Sciences & Admissions Committee Member at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University, Professor of Clinical Orthopedic Surgery at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Visiting Spine Surgeon & Professor at the University of the West Indies, Mona, and Adjunct Professor of Clinical Biomedical Studies at the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Learn more about Dr. Chin here and connect via LinkedIn.

About Less Exposure Surgery

Less Exposure Surgery (LES) is based on a new philosophy of performing surgery, leading the charge to prove through bench and clinical outcomes research that LES treatment options are the best solutions – to lowering the cost of healthcare, improving outcomes and increasing patient satisfaction. Learn more at

The LES Society philosophy: “Tailor treatment to the individual aiding in the quickest recovery and return to a pain-free lifestyle, using LES® techniques that lessen exposure, preserve unoffending anatomy and utilize new technologies which are safe, easy to adopt and reproducible. These LES®techniques lessen blood loss, surgical time and exposure to radiation and can be safely performed in an outpatient center. Less is more.” – Kingsley R. Chin, MD

About The LESS Institute

The LESS Institute is the world leader center of excellence in Less Exposure Surgery. Our safe, effective outpatient treatments help patients recover quickly, avoid expensive hospital stays and return home to their family the same day. Watch our patient stories, follow us on Facebook and visit to learn more.

About SpineFrontier

The above study utilized LES Technology from SpineFrontier – leading provider of LES Technologies and instruments – offering surgeons and patients superior technology and services.

Scientific Paper Author and Citation Details


Chin KR1Barr SJWinalski CZurakowski DBrick GW.

Author information

  1. Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

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