Arthritis and Rheumatism Council and British Orthopaedic Association (1976).Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 35, 437-442. Controlled trial of synovectomy of knee and metacarpophalangeal joints in rheumatoid arthritis. In a multicentre study patients with rheumatoid arthritis judged by prevailing criteria to be suitable for synovectomy of the knee or metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints were randomly allocated to one of two groups. One group had the operation, the other was observed without operation from a notional corresponding date. 3 years later the outcome of synovectomy was compared with that of observation without synovectomy. Synovectomy of the knee was followed by significantly less pain and tenderness, smaller effusions, and smaller and less frequent erosions and geodes. By contrast, MCP joints were no better clinically or radiographically than those treated conservatively. The results have been compared with those of two other controlled trials, one concerned with the knee and MCP joints, the other only with MCP joints. In the present trial results were more favourable in the knee but comparable in the MCP joints with those reported in the first of these two trials but less favourable in the MCP joints than those observed in the second.
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