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Logo of annrheumdAnnals of the Rheumatic DiseasesVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
Ann Rheum Dis. 2005 June; 64(6): 926–929.
Published online 2004 November 18. doi:  10.1136/ard.2004.027409
PMCID: PMC1755510

Ultrasound guided synovial biopsy using portal and forceps


Objective: To describe a new method for taking a synovial biopsy specimen under ultrasound guidance using portal and forceps.

Methods: Percutaneous ultrasound guided biopsy was performed for 37 patients with mono- or polyarthritis as outpatients. A portal to a planned area was built using a needle, guiding wire, and dilators, through which forceps could be inserted and samples taken. Biopsy samples were taken from small and large joints, bursae, and tendon sheaths.

Results: Representative synovial tissue in adequate amounts for histopathological evaluation was obtained in 33/37 cases—a success rate of 89%. The biopsy procedures were well tolerated, but one complication of skin infection was encountered.

Conclusion: The new method of synovium biopsy under ultrasound guidance using sheath introducer set and flexible forceps can be performed on most joints and even bursae and tendon sheaths. The method gives sufficient samples for clinical work in most cases, but further work is needed before accepting this promising technique for scientific purposes.

Figure 1
 Synovium biopsy instruments. (A) 18 gauge needle, wire, and dilators; (B) optional metallic instruments; (C, D) Olympus FB-52C-1 forceps; and (E) rigid forceps.
Figure 2
 Synovium biopsy of the knee joint as seen with ultrasound. (A) Needle in the lateral compartment of the knee joint (longitudinal view) (S, synovium); (B) wire; (C) plastic dilator; and (D) the flexible forceps.
Figure 3
 Synovium biopsy of the tibialis posterior tendon sheath as seen with ultrasound. (A) Needle and wire in the tendon sheath; (B) metallic dilator on the tendon; and (C, D) open jaws of the forceps ready for a bite.

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