Been recommended knee Synevectomy : After more than a... - NRAS


29,429 members35,118 posts

Been recommended knee Synevectomy


After more than a year of cortisone shots and one arthroscopy, doc has suggested a knee Synevectomy. What is the recovery time? I am an active, healthy 62 year old. Or I should specify I WAS active. Doc has been draining 60 cc's of fluid from my knee weekly. He's done extensive bloodwork which is negative. Fluid contains 18,000 white blood cells at last aspiration. Any advice out there?

11 Replies

I am really in two minds how or whether I should reply. I had a arthroscopy, synovectomy and partial medial menisectomy in July 2011 after many months of uncontrolled swelling and fluid aspirations of my left knee. It was extremely painful immediately after the operation and did help for a short while but was not the solution for me and not sure whether if the other knee was in the same position I would have it done again. I was on crutches for a while but cannot remember fully how the recovery was. I had a total knee replacement in 2015 (aged 48) and going on much better. I have sero negative inflammatory arthritis now affecting many joints whilst in the early days was only the left knee. Farm


Like farm I wasnt sure whether to reply as I don't want to put you off,but this was my experience and the same issues would not apply to everyone.

In 2006 I had an arthroscopy on my right knee as I was having swelling in it and in considerable pain. This was pre RA diagnosis. At that time I was a fit healthy 47 yr old and I was up and about the following day with no trouble.I used crutches for a couple of weeks and was back in work just over a week after my op.All went well.

In 2013,I had been having a lot of pain again in my right knee,and by now in 2009 I had my diagnosis of RA confirmed.I also couldn't straighten my right knee fully and the op was supposed to be a synovectomy to help with the pain and to correct the bent knee.

I had already been told to expect a longer post op recovery time because of my RA but from my previous experience of an arthroscopy I had high expectations of this op.BUT during the op other problems were found and so it turned out to be a bigger job than first thought.

I had quite a shock when I was back in the ward after recovery and it was explained to me (2 tears in cartilage,ligament had become detached and reattached itself in the wrong place and a couple of other things which I can't remember ).The pain was certainly a lot more than I had experienced previously and as it was day surgery I was sent home later that night.I could hardly put my foot to the ground to get to the car.This op was frought with problems.Within days I was rushed back into hospital with a dvt,then a second one.I was off work for 3 months and after loads of physio etc I still couldn't straighten my leg and I was still having pain and swelling.So in effect it did absolutely nothing for me,in fact it has left me worse off than I was before.I have been told they can do another op but can't guarantee it will improve things and could leave me worse off again.Also because of the damage to my knee a replacement may not be an option either.

I really can't be any worse off than I am now so will not take the risk.

I think had this op just been a plain synovectomy I would have been up and about in a couple of weeks allowing for the extra recovery time but mine didn't turn out that way.The surgeon said I had an eventful recovery - he wasn't wrong!

I think if you are relatively active and in reasonable good health then you should be up and around fairly quickly.I too WAS an active person cycling 80-100 miles per week and considered myself reasonably fit.Now I can barely walk across a room and can't stand long enough to boil a kettle.

Sorry I can't comment on the white cell count - I have no knowledge of this aspect, but I hope all goes well for you and you are up,and about soon.




Deejon60 in reply to Crusee

Thanks for the info. I am in so much discomfort... I had my fifth knee draining last Friday and it filled back up even worse within 6 hours. I feel that I have no choice but to endure this surgery. Hoping that it works.

Crusee in reply to Deejon60

I hope it works for you too.

My case was rather extreme- this wouldn't happen to everyone.

When you are in so much constant pain anything is worth a try to ease it.

Good luck.



I had my knee drained a few times, wouldn't entertain a arthroscopy as i've heard it doesn't work. Had so many injections i now have a needle phobia. As you seem to have been patient long enough - why don't they simply do a T K R. You won't know yourself. Best thing i've had done. Just wish i hadn't waited and soldiered on so long. Life is too short to put up with constant pain.

The problem is according to doc I don't need a TKR. I wish I did! My bone structure is great. It's a tissue problem.

Hi, I had a knee synovectomy last year. Following spending most of last year on crutches with a hugely painful swollen knee, multiple attempts to drain but only the first attempt was successful as my synovium was so swollen they were unable to drain it.

I was referred for an arthroscopy possible synovectomy depending on how it looked when they got in there. To be honest I was scared but couldn't cope with being stabbed in the knee with no results anymore!!

Anyway, I'm 29 and before this all started reasonably fit and active, i think the fact I spent almost 9months on crutches pre op didn't help my recovery as the muscles were so weak by then. I spent around 8-10 weeks post op getting back on my feet. The physio and hydro is so important following this surgery so ask for as much as you can and stick to it!

Now, well my knee is massively improved on last year I can walk relatively pain free most of the time and it's still a little bigger than the other one but it's not the size of a football anymore!

Good luck with your treatment I would say go for it but that's just me. Although I will warn you it's painful and there is no set recovery time.

Shout me if you have any other questions


Deejon60 in reply to GinjaNinja

Thank you! I've reached rhe end of my rope. Tomorrow is my surgery and I'm hoping and praying for a good result. When your doctor can drain 60 cc's out of your knee on a weekly basis for 5 weeks I AM DONE.:)

Thanks for the info... I am gluten, dairy, grain and sugar free since January of this year. Was hoping it would help but it's done nothing for my knee inflammation.

Hope all goes / went well. Farm

Deejon60 in reply to farm123

Thanks. So far so good. My surgeon provides a thumb drive so you can watch your surgery after you get home. Could not believe the amount of red inflamed tissue that he removed. I am on an aspirin twice a day for clot prevention but no pain pills needed. Don't need crutches anymore either. However, my swelling is just as bad as it was before surgery. Hoping it's just part of the process.

You may also like...