Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: March 2013 - Volume 471 - Issue 3 - p 956–964 doi: 10.1007/s11999-012-2474-5 Clinical Research

High Diagnostic Value of Synovial Biopsy in Periprosthetic Joint Infection of the Hip

Fink, Bernd, MD1, a; Gebhard, Alexander, MD1; Fuerst, Martin, MD2; Berger, Irina, MD3; Schäfer, Peter, MD4

Background The role of the synovial biopsy in the preoperative diagnosis of a periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) of the hip has not been clearly defined.


Questions/purposes We asked whether the value of a biopsy for a PJI is greater than that of aspiration and C-reactive protein (CRP).


Methods Before revision in 100 hip endoprostheses, we obtained CRP values, aspirated the joint, and obtained five synovial biopsy samples for bacteriologic analysis and five for histologic analysis. Microbiologic and histologic analyses of the periprosthetic tissue during revision surgery were used to verify the results of the preoperative diagnostic methods. The minimum followup was 24 months (median 32; range, 24-47 months).


Results Forty-five of the 100 prostheses were identified as infected. The biopsy, with a combination of the bacteriologic and histologic examinations, showed the greatest diagnostic value of all the diagnostic procedures and led to a sensitivity of 82% (95% CI, ± 11%), specificity of 98% (95% CI, ± 4%), positive predictive value of 97% (95% CI, ± 5%), negative predictive value of 87% (95% CI, ± 8.3%), and accuracy of 91%.


Conclusions The biopsy technique has a greater value than aspiration and CRP in the diagnosis of PJI of the hip (Masri et al. J Arthroplasty 22:72-78, 2007). In patients with a negative aspirate, but increased CRP or clinical signs of infection, we regard biopsy to be preferable to just repeating the aspiration.


Level of Evidence Level II prognostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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