Author(s): Kyriakos M
A case report of a cervical facet joint synovial chondromatosis.
To correlate the radiologic and histologic features of vertebral synovial chondromatosis with review of the literature.
Only two previous cases of vertebral facet joint synovial chondromatosis were found in a review of the English language medical literature.
A 39-year-old woman had severe cervical pain associated with neurologic signs and symptoms in the left upper extremity. Computed tomographic and magnetic resonance imaging studies were performed.
Imaging studies showed lytic defects in the laminae of C3 and C4, with intermediate T1 and high T2 signal intensities. The diagnostic impression was that of a lymphangioma or synovial cyst. A laminectomy showed synovial tissue in both the C3-C4 facet joint and the lamina bone. Histologic examination disclosed synovial chondromatosis.
Synovial chondromatosis of the vertebral spine is quite rare, this being only the third reported example. Direct invasion of the cancellous bone, as in this case, also is a very uncommon feature of chondromatosis. It is emphasized that when radiologic studies demonstrate a lesion with cartilaginous characteristics within or juxtaposed to a joint, synovial chondromatosis, despite its rarity, should be included in the differential diagnosis, regardless of the anatomic site.