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MRI scan showed Mild synovial effusion that is swelling and water in knee. Will this require operation?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
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Hi, I have just had an MRI scan and the result says:
1) Mild synovial effusion is noted.
2) Complete thickness tear of the anterior cruciate ligament is noted.
3) A haematoma of size 2.5 x 2 cm is noted in the popliteal fossa.
I understand Mild synovial effusion is swelling/water on the knee.
Will this require an operation or can I just put up with it taking ibuprofen? What is the long term prognosis if I do not get it treated?
I had an arthroscopy in February this year and the surgeon repaired my cartilage. However, after the operation I was still in pain and have been since then.
Why wasn't the tear of the ACL observed on the arthroscopy?
Posted Wed, 7 Aug 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.
You have a full thickness tear of anterior cruciate ligament. This needs a surgical repair for proper healing. The mild synovial effusion is most likely due to inflammation in the area and can be treated with medicines like anti inflammatory medicines and local steroids.
The hematoma in the popliteal fossa is also a small one and is likely to resolve on its own with rest.
A full thickness ACL tear should have been detected on arthroscopy if there has been no injury to the area after the procedure.
You can consult your orthopedician and discuss about an arthroscopic repair of the torn ligament for relief.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: MRI scan showed Mild synovial effusion that is swelling and water in knee. Will this require operation? 26 minutes later
Thank you for the answer.
I am very puzzled because there has been no injury sustained since the cartilage repair in February? I have done nothing but be in pain since the operation and have had two separate steroid injections.
Can the repair be done by arthroscopy or general surgery? Some websites tell me I will need general surgery and you have said arthroscopy?
I thought ACL repair was quite a big operation?
Would I be off work for a long time?
I look forward to your answer.
Kind regards
Shaun Utteridge
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 1 hour later
Thanks for writing again.
ACL repair or reconstruction can be done both by an arthroscopic technique or an open surgery. The hospital stay is lesser and recovery is faster in case of arthroscopic reconstruction.
Let your surgeon decide the best procedure for you. It takes 4-6 weeks for full recovery. You can do your daily activities meanwhile and join the office after a few days.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: MRI scan showed Mild synovial effusion that is swelling and water in knee. Will this require operation? 18 hours later
Hello again!

I am working in Afghanistan at the moment. If I leave here to try and get the operation I will lose my job and therefore income.
What is the prognosis and long term prognosis if I do not have surgery?
Will the injury heal itself or not?
Do I risk further injury if I prolong the operation?
Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 3 hours later
If you do not get it operated, the knee will remain unstable and there can be a persistent pain. The chances of spontaneous healing of the complete tear are less.
You can use an elastic knee brace till then for relief and stability. Since it is already a complete tear, much further damage is not likely.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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