Synovial Biopsy, Synovium, Synovial Fluid & Arthrocentesis

About H. Ralph Schumacher, Jr., M.D.

H. Ralph Schumacher, Jr., MD is Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and former Chief of Rheumatology at the VA Medical Center, Philadelphia. He has been studying all aspects of the synovium, synovial fluid and crystal deposition disease for more than 45 years. He is preparing this resource to make his educational material widely accessible and to encourage dialogues on these subjects. As noted in the CV, he is author of scientific papers, books, and many reviews and editorials. His work has addressed clinical aspects, light and electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, molecular biology and physiology of the joint.

Dr. Schumacher's CV is available online: HRS CV

Schumacher garden, December 1991.


Colchicum autumnalis, Fall 1985 in the Schumacher garden.


H. Ralph Schumacher in an ancient medical theatre in Padova, Italy.

H. Ralph Schumacher playing basketball in Taipei during sabbatical, 1981.

Schumacher garden patio, Spring 2008.


Dr. Schumacher and gout sufferer "Ben Franklin"

Schumacher garden, January 1991.


Rheumatology Section party, Schuamcher house, June 1991.

Gilda, and others, at our Rheumatology Section party, June 1991.

Dr. Schumacher and team assisting a turtle!.

Schumacher in China.


Some Life Lessons that I See Suggested from My Electron Micrographs:


This synovial macrophage is reaching out with dramatic processes to enfold a lymphocyte. EM, 7500X..



Platelets sticking together are occluding synovial vessel. Multilaminated basement membrane seems to suggest a wrapping. EM, 5000X.



Activated lymphocytes and adjacent plasma cell with rough endoplasmic reticulum cooperate in stimulation and antibody production. EM, 25,000X..



Very unusual pericyte processes depart from the routine and extend through venule endothelial gaps, EM, 10,000X..



Multiple "arms" from this synovial cell enfold a process from another cell. EM, 30,000 X.



This intraluminal leukocyte is degranulating in a vessel wall injured by dense deposits of presumed immune complexes, EM, 6,000X.



The large cell with profuse polyribosomes is a lymphoblast transformed from a small lymphocyte. EM, 20,000X.



A vessel has been destroyed and is beginning to be replaced by a fibrous scar. EM, 6,000 X.




What is going on in this cell? EM, 28,000 X.



This mast cell produces histamine and other vasoactive substances to act on the adjacent vessel. EM, 10,000 X.



Thin and unusual thick synovial collagen. EM, 10,000 X.


Click Here to See the Opening Lecture at ACR 2009

Click Here to See Article in VA Newsletter, Summer 2011, featuring Dr. Schumacher

Click Here to See Article in The Rheumatologist, Jan. 2010 featuring Dr. Schumacher

See an article in Traditional Garden, April, 2015 featuring the Schumacher garden, "Colorful Terraced Garden in Pennsylvania. When even pros couldn’t salvage a dismal yard, a Pennsylvania couple created a glorious garden oasis."

Click here to link to article in Traditional Home April 2015



By Joan Von Feldt, MD

On occasion of my completing 4 years as Acting Chief of Rheumatology at Penn


We once had Ralph as our chief

Whose purpose was giving us grief

He complained of the budget

And asked Andy to fudge it

Accusing Ed Holmes as the thief


Why a limerick composed in tribute?

Then you’ve missed HRS’s repute

He commemorates an exit

With poetry and dry wit

His sarcasm triggers dispute


Our faculty meetings – so unique!

They were scheduled every fourth week

The agenda was memos in a pile

Reducing the stack took a while

Ending when discussion would peak


Ralph’s shelves are stacked really high

With more papers than stars in the sky

Of ideas he’s fathered

And works he has authored

Achievements no one can deny


Renowned internationally

He travels across every sea

Gaining lots of congrats

Recruiting fellow lab rats

To work cheaply in our country


Pretty women would turn his head

But his eyes would fill with dread

As the vocal amongst us

Would raise a big ruckus

If he didn’t do as we said.


The garden parties were renowned

Showcasing what he and Liz found

On their overseas jaunts

Stones, gazebos or font

Centered in a flowering mound


With charting he takes great care

But notes – his technique is quite rare

Jots on bits and scraps

An on sandwich wraps

It drives us to pull out our hair


While chief you started a journal

Of rheumatic diseases internal

Reviewing original works

Rewarded with kudos and perks

Creating a chaos infernal


Thanks for your 4 year tenure

Directing and guiding our future

We’re glad you’re still staying

Though chief you’re not playing

Now free to do research so pure

© The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania || Template Design: SOMIS Web Team