Arthrocentesis takes joint fluid out using a needle. It can be done in most of the joints in the body. It is usually done on large joints like the knee or shoulder.
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It is done to:
In some cases, medicine may be injected in the joint space after the fluid has been taken out.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will go over some problems, like:
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
Before your procedure:
You may be given local anesthesia. This numbs the site where the needle will enter the joint.
The needle site will be cleaned. Next, a needle attached to a syringe will be inserted into the joint. Fluid will be pulled into the syringe. After this, medicine may be injected into the joint through the needle. After the needle is taken out, pressure will be put on the spot. A bandage will be put on the site.
About 5-10 minutes
You may feel stinging or burning if local anesthesia is used.
Follow your doctor’s instructions when you return home.
Call your doctor if you have:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
The Arthritis Society
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/Arthritis/arthritis_rheumatic.asp. Updated April 30, 2017. Accessed May 29, 2018.
Knee pain treatment. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritistoday.org/where-it-hurts/knee-pain/treatment/knee-injection.php. Accessed May 29, 2018.
Synovial fluid analysis. Lab Tests Online—American Association for Clinical Chemistry website. Available at: http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/synovial/tab/glance. Updated May 29, 2018. Accessed May 29, 2018.
Zuber TJ. Knee joint aspiration and injection. Am Fam Physician. 2002;66(8):1497-1501.
Last reviewed May 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM Last Updated: 5/29/2018