Joint Aspiration - complications

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What are complications of joint aspiration?

Complications of joint aspiration are uncommon. Possible complications include a reaction to the local anesthetic, local bruising or, minor bleeding into the joint. If cortisone is used, there may be loss of pigment in the skin (a light-colored spot may develop). A rare but serious complication of joint aspiration is infection of the joint (septic arthritis).

If cortisone-related medications (corticosteroids) are injected into the joint, additional uncommon complications include inflammation in the joint as a result of the medication crystallizing, shrinkage (atrophy) or loss of pigment of skin at the injection site, increased blood sugar (worsening of diabetes mellitus), and aggravation of preexisting infection elsewhere in the body. If multiple injections with corticosteroids are given too frequently, it is possible to develop systemic side effects (side effects throughout the body), such as weight gain, puffy face and trunk, and easy bruising. Injection of hyaluronic acid derivatives may cause local inflammation and swelling of the joint due to a reaction to the medication.

Return to Joint Aspiration (Arthrocentesis)

See what others are saying

Comment from: Beth, 7-12 Female (Caregiver) Published: February 02

My 10 year old son had to have fluid removed from his knee. The doctor sprayed his knee with a numbing spray for about 2 seconds and then inserted the large needle into his knee. He screamed so loud from pain and to stop because he could feel all the pain. The doctor continued to push and my son is now traumatized from this procedure. I researched this procedure and it says that a needle should have been used to provide relief.

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Comment from: Clementine, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I had an arthrocentesis (joint aspiration) last week. Mine was done to insert medication into my arthritic right knee. Quite simply, the procedure was excruciating. While not the first painful procedure I've endured in my life, it was the only one in which my body involuntarily and violently popped up from the table in reaction to the sudden severe pain from the needle. Joint aspiration is a procedure proven to be helpful for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. This was simply my experience, and I would do it again if my doctor of 25 years, whom I trust, ordered it in my best interest. I would just be more aware of what to expect and ask for additional numbing medication prior to the injection.

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