The synovium from 11 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who were undergoing joint surgery, was assessed using histological and morphometric techniques. Histological examination confirmed previous reports that the intensity of the cellular reaction varied throughout the synovium, and the morphometric method reflected this variability sensitively. The method was shown to be reproducible and allowed areas of similar cellular density to be defined. From these defined areas a total of 2.5 mm2 of synovium equivalent to 12 fields at x250 required analysis to reflect the variation in the cellular reaction. It would be feasible to collect this amount of material using an arthroscope.