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Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis of the Ankle

Radiologic Characteristics

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  • 1 Radiology Department, Affiliated Hospital of Medical College Qingdao University, Qingdao, Shandong, China
  • | 2 Foot and Ankle Surgery Department, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
  • | 3 Radiology Department, Beijing Tongren Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
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Background:

Pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) of the ankle is a rare benign proliferative growth of the synovium. Studies of the radiologic characteristics of ankle PVNS are sparse.

Methods:

To characterize the radiologic features of ankle PVNS, five patients with histologically proven ankle PVNS were retrospectively studied. The features of their radiographs, computed tomographic scans, and magnetic resonance images were reviewed, with emphasis on the morphological features, extension, margin, bone involvement, signal intensity, and degree of magnetic resonance enhancement.

Results:

All five lesions were diffuse, affecting the ankle and distal tibiofibular joint; three lesions also involved the subtalar joint. Radiography demonstrated extrinsic bone erosions with marginal sclerosis of the involved joints in all of the patients, but computed tomography identified this much better than did radiography. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed multiple lobulated soft-tissue masses in all of the cases. These soft-tissue masses surrounded the flexor hallux longus tendon and were hypointense on T1-weighted images, with a heterogeneous signal in two cases and homogenous hypointensity in three cases on fat-suppressed T2-weighted images. In one patient who underwent gadolinium-enhanced imaging, the masses showed intense enhancement.

Conclusions:

Magnetic resonance imaging is the best way to reveal ankle PVNS. Magnetic resonance imaging findings of predominant hypointensity on all pulse sequences and standard radiography findings of bone erosion with marginal sclerosis are characteristic. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(3): 252–258, 2011)

Corresponding author: Wen-Jian Xu, MD, Radiology Department, Affiliated Hospital of Medical College Qingdao University, Qingdao, China, 16 Jiangsu Rd, Qingdao, Shandong 266003, China. (E-mail: cjr.xuwenjian@vip.163.com)