A synovial biopsy is the removal of a piece of tissue lining a joint for examination. The tissue is called the synovial membrane.
Biopsy - synovial membrane
How the test is performed
The test is done in the operating room during an arthroscopy.
The health care provider will inject a numbing medicine (local anesthetic) into the area. An instrument called a trocar is inserted into the joint space. This tool helps push fluid in and out of the area. A biopsy grasper is inserted through the trocar and turned to cut out a tissue segment.
There is a very slight chance of infection and bleeding. Rarely, there is a chance of the needle striking a nerve or blood vessel.
You will need to keep the wound clean and dry until your doctor or nurse says it is okay to get it wet.
El-Gabalawy HS. Synovial fluid analysis, synovial biopsy, and synovial pathology. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris ED Jr., et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2008:chap 48.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.