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Elbow Synovitis & Plica

Call 281-633-8600 for an appointment.  In this video, Dr. J. Michael Bennett talks about elbow synovitis and plica and how it’s treated.  Dr. Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and a Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Specialist with offices in Houston, near the Houston Galleria, and in Sugar Land, near First Colony Mall.  Dr. Bennett specializes in treating injuries of the shoulderselbows, and knees and certain hand and wrist injuries including carpal tunnel syndrome.

This is Dr. J. Michael Bennett:

Here’s a summary of the elbow synovitis video.

Another possibility in the elbow is a synovitis or a plica, which can also present as a clicking popping sensation when you rotate the elbow. A lot of times these patients may not have a history of trauma, but they’ll develop this painful area right in the elbow, which is in the radiocapitellar joint. Usually it’s on the posterior lateral side along the same area where the ligament is, and what happens there is they develop a synovitis, which is an inflammation of the lining of the joint. That synovitis will create a little band of tissue which can sometimes get stuck into the joint like this.

When it gets into the joint, it becomes inflamed and it becomes thickened. This is called a plica. These plicas sometimes can respond to maybe an intra-articular injection of a steroid to maybe help see if that helps decrease the inflammation around the plica, but sometimes we have to go in there arthroscopically and remove them.

Many times you can’t even see this on MRI, or the radiologist doesn’t even comment on this. So it is a finding that can be picked up on a physical exam, or it can be a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning that you rule everything else out and if you see this lining or this little band here on MRI, then this indeed may be causing the problem. Lots of times we just address this by treating it arthroscopically, by putting a camera in there and removing this little band of tissue.

That being said, if you have any issues regarding the elbow, we have information on our website at, or feel free to come to us at the clinic at 281-633- 8600. We’d be happy to take a look at you. Thank you.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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