We evaluated the effects of arthroscopic wrist synovectomy for patients with advanced rheumatoid arthritis. We retrospectively reviewed data for 11 patients with moderately advanced arthritis and joint space narrowing of 25% to 50% (Group A) treated from May 1993 to March 2000. We compared effects of these patients with effects of six patients with earlier disease and joint space narrowing of 0% to 25% (Group B). For Group A, the total modified Mayo wrist scores increased from an average of 26.36 points preoperatively to an average of 56.36 points postoperatively. Postoperative scores for pain and return to work status, and two components of the modified Mayo wrist score also showed differences compared with the respective preoperative scores. There was an increase in final followup scores in return to work status and total modified Mayo wrist scores. Group A showed larger differences than Group B. Our data suggest that arthroscopic synovectomy is a useful treatment for modest and moderate stages of rheumatoid arthritis. It is especially effective for decreasing pain and improving function, allowing patients to return to work.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study, Level III. See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.