Bone & joints


Systemic lupus erythematosus

Topic Completed: 1 May 2013

Minor changes: 30 July 2020

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Systemic lupus erythematosus [title] joints loattrfree full text[sb]

Vijay Shankar, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 1,324
Page views in 2021 to date: 975
Cite this page: Shankar V. Systemic lupus erythematosus. website. Accessed October 25th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Autoimmune disease that usually presents with mild arthritis or joint effusions
  • Destructive joint disease is rare except for those on steroid therapy who rarely can develop aseptic necrosis
  • Occasionally there is a progression to rheumatoid-like nonerosive hand deformities (Jaccoud syndrome, Rheum Dis Clin North Am 1988;14:99, Ann Rheum Dis 1974;33:204)
  • Synovial fluid shows less inflammation than rheumatoid arthritis
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Correctable swan neck deformities and ulnar deviation

Readily correctable swan neck deformities and subluxation of right fifth MCP

Metacarpal heads - no cartilage damage seen

Noncorrectable deformities of PIP joints

Mild ulnar deviation, especially on right

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Changes resemble rheumatoid arthritis but with more intense surface fibrin deposition and less synovial proliferation and less intense inflammation
  • Occasional vasculitis can be seen (Ann Intern Med 1971;74:911)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Synovial membrane

Back to top
Image 01 Image 02