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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. Accessed July 3, 2013.
Bresnihan B. Are synovial biopsies of diagnostic value? Arthritis Res Ther. 2003;5(6):271-8. 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. Accessed July 3, 2013.
Joint Aspiration (Arthrocentesis). Kids Health from Nemours Foundation. 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.;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. Accessed July 3, 2013.

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