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We provide a comprehensive synovial fluid analysis through which inflammatory arthropathies can be distinguished from non inflammatory arthropathies and in defining specific disorders within these two groups.

Synovial fluid analysis is also important in the diagnosis of early inflammatory disease where it might be possible to identify a specific arthropathy before the clinical syndrome develops.

Finally, it permits the very rapid diagnosis of joint disease, particularly in disorders such as septic arthritis.

Synovial fluid analysis consists of the following :

  • White blood cell count
  • Presence of Rhagocytes
  • Crystal identification
  • Particle identification
  • Differential white blood cell count
  • Gram staining for the presence of Gram +ve/-ve bacteria


At least 300μl of sample is required for full analysis. Volumes less than this will have limited analysis.

It is important to send the samples to the department as soon as possible, samples over two days old start to degenerate making analysis difficult and increasing the likelihood of an inadequate report being issued.


(Last reviewed May 2023)