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Forum Name: Rheumatology Topics

Question: Radiosynovectomy vs traditional treatment


 sailinghero1 - Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:07 pm

Dear Doctor,

Lately, a doctor suggested a radiosynovectomy treatment to help my mother with her rheumatoid arthritis. I have never heard of this treatment and was confirmed that it is not a treatment used very often. I was wondering why it wasn't use often and if there was any risk related to it. Is there a lot of doctors who perform such intervention and last question, is it reimbursed by HMO?

Thank you very much for your help.
 Tom Plamondon PA-C - Thu Dec 18, 2008 8:05 pm

User avatar Thanks for your patience.
Radiosynovectomy is a procedure in which radionucleotides are injected into an arthritic joint (eg RA). The radionucleotides emit a type of ray which destroys inflammatory tissue such as synovium (the inner lining of a joint which produces the slippery synovial fluid). This procedure replaces surgical synovectomy (removal of the synovium) and is used after oral medicine fails.
Since this is considered nuclear medicine, a nuclear medicine faciltity should have information about the procedure.
Risk includes infection in the joint and increased swelling and pain. (A good question to ask before having the procedure is "What is the chance of the radionucleotides destroying healthy tissue like cartiledge or ligaments?")
Check with your HMO provider for coverage. You will probably need to show that other treatments have failed. This procedure should be more cost effective than surgical synovectomy.
Let us know how things with your Mom turn out.

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