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(Joint Injection and Aspiration, Joint Aspiration and Analysis, Arthrocentesis)
Joint aspiration refers to removing fluid from the space around a joint using a needle and syringe. This is usually performed under a local anesthetic to either relieve swelling or to obtain fluid for analysis to diagnose a joint disorder and/or problem.
Joint aspiration is usually performed on the knee. However, fluid can also be removed from other joints, such as the hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist.
Other related procedures that may be used to help diagnose joint problems include x-ray, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT scan), arthroscopy, and arthrography. Please see these procedures for additional information.
Joints are formed where bones meet. Most joints are mobile, allowing the bones to move. Joints consist of the following:
Joint aspiration may be performed to diagnose and assist in the treatment of joint disorders and/or problems. By analyzing the fluid obtained during the procedure, the following conditions may be determined:
Joint aspiration can also be performed to remove a large collection of fluid around a joint. Sometimes bursitis (inflammation of the bursa) causes fluid to collect in a joint. Removing the fluid will decrease the pressure, relieve pain, and improve movement of the joint. Sometimes, a medication is injected into the joint following removal of the fluid to help treat tendonitis or bursitis.
There may be other reasons for your physician to recommend a joint aspiration.
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications may include, but are not limited to, the following:
There may be other risks depending upon your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your physician prior to the procedure.
A joint aspiration may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your physician’s practices.
Generally, a joint aspiration procedure follows this process:
Once you are home, it is important for you to keep the joint aspiration site clean and dry. Leave the bandage in place for as long as instructed by your physician.
The aspiration site may be tender or sore for a few days after the joint aspiration procedure. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your physician. Aspirin or certain other pain medications may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medications.
Notify your physician to report any of the following:
Your physician may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.
This page contains links to other Web sites with information about this procedure and related health conditions. We hope you find these sites helpful, but please remember we do not control or endorse the information presented on these Web sites, nor do these sites endorse the information contained here.