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What is a synovial biopsy?

A synovial biopsy is a minimally invasive procedure that helps diagnose joint problems. This includes inflammatory conditions, infections, arthritis, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Your doctor uses either a needle or an arthroscope to remove a sample of joint tissue. An arthroscope has a tiny camera that allows your doctor to view the inside of a joint. Your doctor will send the joint tissue sample to a lab for testing. 

Synovial biopsy is a minor procedure, but it involves some risk and potential complications. You may have less invasive diagnostic options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your diagnostic options before having a synovial biopsy. 

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 8, 2016

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Medical References

  1. Arthroscopy. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
  2. Bresnihan B. Are synovial biopsies of diagnostic value? Arthritis Res Ther. 2003;5(6):271-8.
  3. Bresnihan B, Tak PP, Emery P, Klareskog L, Breedveld F. Synovial biopsy in arthritis research: five years of concerted European collaboration. Ann Rheum Dis 2000;59:506-511.
  4. Joint Aspiration (Arthrocentesis). Kids Health from Nemours Foundation.
  5. Singhal O, Kaur V, Kalhan S, Singhal MK, Gupta A, et al. Arthroscopic synovial biopsy in definitive diagnosis of joint diseases: An evaluation of efficacy and precision. Int J App Basic Med Res 2012;2:102-6.;year=2012;volume=2;issue=2;spage=102;epage=106;aula....
  6. Vordenbäumen S, Joosten LA, Friemann J, Schneider M, Ostendorf B. Utility of synovial biopsy. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11(6):256.

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