A 49 year old black man with scoliosis presented with bilateral shoulder swelling eventually shown to be due to neuropathic arthropathy related to underlying syringomyelia. The synovial fluid was highly inflammatory, but cultures from synovial fluid and synovial tissue were all sterile. Profuse fat droplets were noted and considered as a possible cause of the inflammation. This is an unusual presentation of neuropathic arthropathy in a patient who was also harbouring an adenocarcinoma that was undetected until later.
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