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What Is Synovitis and How Is It Treated?

October 11, 2022 In Mass Tort

Synovitis is a condition where the synovium becomes inflamed. This membrane lines synovial joints like the hip, ankle, and knee, and any irritation or swelling in this area can be extremely painful. Without treatment, synovitis can impact your mobility and affect your overall bone health. 

If you were diagnosed with synovitis, there are many treatment options available to help alleviate these symptoms. Additionally, you may qualify for a lawsuit to help pay for your medical care if a defective medical device is responsible for your condition.

What Are the Symptoms of Synovitis?

The synovial membrane is responsible for lubricating and nourishing the cartilage and bone within a joint. When synovitis occurs, the membrane becomes thicker and starts to swell. At an advanced stage, synovitis can begin to destroy the joint itself. 

The main symptom of synovitis is severe pain within the joints. You may also experience swelling, stiffness, and warmth in the affected area.

What Are the Common Causes of Synovitis?

Treatment for synovitis will depend on the underlying cause. In most cases, synovitis is caused by overusing or overexerting the affected joint. People who play sports or who work in roles that require repetitive motions are the most likely to develop synovitis in this way.

However, there are certain medical conditions that could also cause inflammation of the synovial membrane. For example, people with inflammatory arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or lupus could develop synovitis. 

Additionally, any injury or trauma to the joint may also lead to synovitis. Recently, a medical device manufacturer called Exactech recalled its knee and ankle implants after discovering that these devices could degrade inside patients’ bodies. This degradation has led to painful conditions like bone loss and synovitis. 

What Treatment Is Available for Patients with Synovitis?

If you develop synovitis, it is critical to receive medical attention as soon as possible in order to initiate the proper course of treatment. As mentioned above, doctors treat synovitis by targeting the underlying condition. Depending on what caused your synovitis, your doctor may recommend the following treatments and therapies:

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs are a very common medication option for synovitis. These medications help reduce swelling and inflammation, relieving the pain caused by an affected joint. NSAIDs are commonly prescribed if your joint is injured, or you have inflammatory arthritis.
  • Steroid Injections: Corticosteroids can help relieve pain, inflammation, and other symptoms of painful joint conditions. A doctor may recommend injecting a steroid into the joint directly to alleviate the effects of synovitis.
  • Disease-Modifying Drugs: If your synovitis is caused by an underlying medical condition, your doctor may prescribe medications to treat that condition. Antirheumatic drugs can help relieve inflammation caused by arthritis, while certain medications can reduce high uric acid levels caused by gout.
  • Synovectomy: This surgical procedure removes a portion of the synovium if you are suffering from synovitis. Synovectomy is often recommended for people with inflammatory arthritis who see abnormal growth of the synovial membrane.
  • Implant Removal and Replacement: If your synovitis was caused by a defective medical implant, you may require surgery to remove the device and replace it with a safer alternative. 

What Should I Do If My Knee or Ankle Implant Led to Synovitis?

If you recently underwent surgery on your knee or ankle and later developed synovitis, the implant used in your procedure may be responsible. If you find yourself in this devastating situation, you should speak to your doctor and receive treatment to alleviate your symptoms. 

Then, you should consult with a defective medical device attorney about your legal options. If your implant was manufactured by Exactech, you may qualify for a lawsuit against the manufacturer and recover a settlement to pay for your medical care, pain and suffering, and other losses. An attorney can evaluate your case and help you understand whether you are eligible for litigation.

How Do Exactech Knee and Ankle Implants Lead to Synovitis?

Since 2004, Exactech has packaged all of its knee and ankle arthroplasty polyethylene inserts in non-conforming bags. These bags did not have a secondary layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol and therefore failed to adequately protect the implants from oxygen exposure.

Oxygen was able to diffuse through the bag and affect the polyethylene insert, causing oxidation and degradation. When these devices were implanted in patients, they began to suffer severe symptoms such as the following:

  • Severe pain
  • Bone loss
  • Disintegration of bone cells
  • Loosening of inserts
  • Medical conditions like synovitis

In August 2021, this issue prompted Exactech to recall some of its knee and ankle arthroplasty inserts. By February 2022, the manufacturer issued an expanded recall of all of its polyethylene inserts that were packaged in non-conforming bags. Now, former patients are pursuing litigation against Exactech to recover compensation for their losses. 

How Long Do You Have to File a Synovitis Lawsuit Against Exactech?

Although synovitis is not a life-threatening condition, it could have a serious impact on your life. Filing a lawsuit allows you to hold the manufacturer accountable for these damages and secure a fair settlement to pay for damages like medical expenses and lost wages. If you believe that you qualify for a claim against Exactech, it is important to act quickly.

In every state, there is a statute of limitations or a time limit for filing certain types of lawsuits. These filing deadlines can vary depending on where you live and when you discovered the injury. If you do not file by the appropriate statute of limitations, the court will likely dismiss your lawsuit.

Below are a few examples:

  • In Nevada, you have four years from the date of your diagnosis to file your lawsuit.
  • In New York, you have three years from the date of your diagnosis to file your lawsuit.
  • In California, you have two years from the date that your synovitis was or should have been discovered.
  • In Washington, you have two years from the date of your diagnosis, but no more than 12 years from the date of your initial surgery.

To initiate your claim, it is critical to speak with a lawyer who is handling injury lawsuits involving Exactech devices. Contact an attorney as soon as possible after your diagnosis to discuss your legal options.