Possibilities and Limitations of Synovial Biopsy

  • Hans G. Fassbender


The diagnostic value of a synovial biopsy is generally considered to be limited for the following reasons: In contrast to organs with a well defined architecture as, for example the liver, the kidney, and the heart, the synovial membrane has no definite structure, that is to stay no defined cell composition. In organ tissue, qualitative and quantitative variations from the well-known pattern are recognized and are associated with specific pathological phenomena. In synovial tissue, however, there is no defined structure or cell composition, and therefore only a few points of orientation are available. Thus, from the structural point of view, the synovial membrane should be regarded as a plain, loose mesenchymal tissue whose surface is sealed off from a fluid-containing space by a lining cell layer. Thus, pathological changes of the synovial membrane cannot be analyzed by disturbances of the given structure, but rather from reactions of the following morphological components:
  1. 1.

    Hyperplasia The synovial membrane reacts to various stimuli with an increase in the surface area in the form of villi. Villous formation can be excessive in certain cases. The synovial membrane shares this exophytic tendency with other mesodermal surfaces (pleura, peritoneum).



Rheumatoid Arthritis Plasma Cell Synovial Membrane Synovial Tissue Synovial Biopsy 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans G. Fassbender
    • 1
  1. 1.Zentrum für Rheuma-PathologieMainzGermany

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