Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis (PVNS): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 3/14/2019

Pigmented villonodular synovitis (PVNS) is a condition characterized by thickening and overgrowth of the normal lining tissue of joints (known as synovium). PVNS is not a cancer and does not spread outside the joint. It mostly affects the knee joint but can involve other joints. Pigmented villonodular synovitis is a progressive condition that worsens over time.

Signs and symptoms associated with pigmented villonodular synovitis include joint pain, swelling of the joint, and difficulty moving the affected joint, possibly leading to joint instability or joint stiffness. Typically, PVNS involves only one joint. Other symptoms can include locking or catching of the affected joint. The symptoms may come and go over time.

Cause of pigmented villonodular synovitis

The cause of PVNS is unknown.


United States. Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. "Pigmented Villonodular Synovitis." Nov. 14, 2017. .

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2019

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Arthritis Newsletter

By clicking "Submit," I agree to the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. I also agree to receive emails from MedicineNet and I understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet subscriptions at any time.