Which lab tests are performed in the diagnosis of bursitis?

Updated: Dec 11, 2020
  • Author: Kristine M Lohr, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Routine laboratory blood work is generally not helpful in the diagnosis of noninfectious bursitis but is appropriate when septic bursitis or underlying autoimmune disease is suspected. Aspiration and analysis of bursal fluid should be done to rule out infectious or rheumatic causes and may also be therapeutic.

MRI is usually unnecessary but if needed is very sensitive for identification of bursitis, and can rule out suspected solid tumors and define pathology for possible surgical excision. Ultrasonography is useful for further imaging of the bursa when the diagnosis is uncertain, and can guide diagnostic aspiration or therapeutic injections.

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