Joint aspiration is a procedure to remove fluid from the space around a joint using a needle and syringe. Joint aspiration is typically performed by a doctor or ancillary health care provider as an office procedure or at the bedside of hospitalized patients. Joint aspiration is sometimes called joint drainage and is medically referred to as arthrocentesis. This is usually done under a local anesthetic either to relieve swelling or to obtain fluid for analysis to diagnose a joint disorder and/or problem. Joint aspiration is most often done on the knee. However, fluid can also be removed from other joints, such as the hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist.
Joint aspiration may be done to diagnose and assist in the treatment of joint disorders and/or problems which may include Gout, Various types of arthritis and Joint infections.
Joint aspiration can also be done 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 healthcare provider to recommend a joint aspiration.