This week’s installment of Arnold’s Hip Saga centered on Wednesday’s needle aspiration (term explained here), after weeks of hitches in getting the procedure set up. The point is to insert a needle into the hip joint, to extract — aspirate — fluid from the joint, and then to culture the synovial fluid to find out if there’s any infection in it (or whether it’s sterile, as it’s supposed to be). First, an etymological note on synovial (which apparently doesn’t have the etymology I thought it did), and then a brief encouraging report on Wednesday’s procedure.
OED2 has this etymological note on synovia, the (mass) noun for which synovial is the adjective:
< modern Latin sinovia, synovia, also synophia , an invention, probably arbitrarily formed, of Paracelsus (died 1541), applied by him to the nutritive fluid peculiar to the several parts of the body, and also to the gout …, but limited by later physicians to the fluid of the joints.
In mod. dicts. it is derived < Greek σύν syn- prefix + ᾠόν, Latin ōvum egg, on account of the resemblance of synovia to the white of egg. This is without foundation, and conflicts with Paracelsus’s description of synovia as reddish, dark red, grey, etc., according to the part.
Pity; ‘with egg’ looked pretty straightforward, and now we’re left with an inexplicable fancy of Paracelsus’s.
a. Physiol. The viscid albuminous fluid secreted in the interior of the joints, and in the sheaths of the tendons, and serving to lubricate them; also called joint-oil or joint-water. [1650 trans. from Latin; then from 1693 on]
†b. Pathol. A morbid condition or discharge of this fluid. Obs. [cites from 1661, 1758, 1766; this is the 'gout' sense]
On the procedure, which I’d dreaded after my unfortunate experience with the MRI. I did have to lie flat on my back, but the radiologist provided a pillow to elevate my right knee, so I wasn’t in unbearable pain. What I wrote on Facebook:
… needle aspiration went off smoothly and easily this morning, and with *much* less pain than I’d feared. In fact, when the radiologist injected a pile of Novocaine deep into my hip (so that the needle would be manageable for me), it cut off the pain referred from my hip down my leg and made me considerably *more* comfortable. Doc knew the details of the case, asked useful questions clearly, and kept up a stream of easy small talk during the prep.
Today has been an especially bad day for that referred pain, even with Vicodin. I recall the Novocaine wistfully.
Test results back this coming week. And surgery set for November 14th, or if that turns out to be too soon, the 20th.