Ultrasound-guided synovial Tru-cut biopsy: indications, technique, and outcome in 111 cases
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To investigate the diagnostic performance of ultrasound-guided synovial biopsy.


Clinical notes, pathology and microbiology reports, ultrasound and other imaging studies of 100 patients who underwent 111 ultrasound-guided synovial biopsies were reviewed. Biopsies were compared with the final clinical diagnosis established after synovectomy (n = 43) or clinical/imaging follow-up (n = 57) (mean 30 months).


Other than a single vasovagal episode, no complication of synovial biopsy was encountered. One hundred and seven (96 %) of the 111 biopsies yielded synovium histologically. Pathology ± microbiology findings for these 107 conclusive biopsies comprised synovial tumour (n = 30, 28 %), synovial infection (n = 18, 17 %), synovial inflammation (n = 45, 42 %), including gouty arthritis (n = 3), and no abnormality (n = 14, 13 %). The accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity of synovial biopsy was 99 %, 97 %, and 100 % for synovial tumour; 100 %, 100 %, and 100 % for native joint infection; and 78 %, 45 %, and 100 % for prosthetic joint infection. False-negative synovial biopsy did not seem to be related to antibiotic therapy.


Ultrasound-guided Tru-cut synovial biopsy is a safe and reliable technique with a high diagnostic yield for diagnosing synovial tumour and also, most likely, for joint infection. Regarding joint infection, synovial biopsy of native joints seems to have a higher diagnostic yield than that for infected prosthetic joints.

Key Points

• Ultrasound-guided Tru-cut synovial biopsy has high accuracy (99 %) for diagnosing synovial tumour.

• It has good accuracy, sensitivity, and high specificity for diagnosis of joint infection.

• Synovial biopsy of native joints works better than biopsy of prosthetic joints.

• A negative synovial biopsy culture from a native joint largely excludes septic arthritis.

• Ultrasound-guided Tru-cut synovial biopsy is a safe and well-tolerated procedure.
All Author(s) ListSitt JC, Griffith JF, Lai FM, Hui M, Chiu KH, Lee RK, Ng AW, Leung J
Journal nameEuropean Radiology
Volume Number27
Issue Number5
Pages2002 - 2010
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
KeywordsSynovium, Ultrasound, Biopsy, Infection, Tumour

Last updated on 2020-06-07 at 02:23