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What to Ask About Knee Osteoarthritis

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: Nov 5, 2013

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Medical References

Arthroscopy. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00109. Accessed July 3, 2013.
Bresnihan B. Are synovial biopsies of diagnostic value? Arthritis Res Ther. 2003;5(6):271-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14680502. Accessed July 3, 2013.
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. http://ard.bmj.com/content/59/7/506.full. Accessed July 3, 2013.
Joint Aspiration (Arthrocentesis). Kids Health from Nemours Foundation. http://kidshealth.org/parent/system/medical/arthrocentesis.html. Accessed July 3, 2013.
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. http://www.ijabmr.org/article.asp?issn=2229-516X;year=2012;volume=2;issue=2;spage=102;epage=106;aulast=Singhal. Accessed July 3, 2013.
Vordenbäumen S, Joosten LA, Friemann J, Schneider M, Ostendorf B. Utility of synovial biopsy. Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11(6):256. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19951395. Accessed July 3, 2013.

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