- What Is
- Related Resources
What is knee arthrocentesis?
Knee arthrocentesis is an important procedure used for diagnosing arthritis and differentiating inflammatory arthritis from noninflammatory arthritis. Arthrocentesis can also be performed therapeutically for
- pain relief,
- drainage of fluid or
- injection of medications.
Any joint in the body can be aspirated. Joint aspiration is a relatively quick and inexpensive procedure to perform. It can be done in a clinic or hospital setting. Any trained physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse can perform the procedure.
When is knee arthrocentesis done?
Knee arthrocentesis may be indicated in the patients with inflamed knee joints without an established diagnosis. Inflamed joints are recognized by being
- swollen, and
- painful during movement.
Some conditions that may require joint aspiration and analysis to establish diagnosis are:
- Monoarticular arthritis (inflammation of the joint)
- Septic arthritis (infection of the joint)
- Joint effusion (swelling due to fluid accumulation in the body)
- Intra-articular fracture (fractures which involve the joint space)
- Crystal arthropathy (accumulation of calcium crystals in the joint and surrounding areas)
Joint aspiration may be performed as a treatment in certain conditions:
- Repeated aspirations can be part of the management of the septic joint to relieve discomfort and prevent joint damage.
- Aspiration can be considered in cases of hemarthrosis (blood in the joints) to prevent adhesions.
- Aspiration can be performed while injecting intra-articular medications, such as corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid to improve efficacy. Steroid injections help reduce joint inflammation, reduce pain, preserve joint structure, and function. Hyaluronic acid lubricates the joint, decreases impact, delays joint aging, and reduces pain and stiffness.
When should knee arthrocentesis not be done?
Knee arthrocentesis should be performed with caution in patients with bleeding disorder or those on anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners). Patients taking anticoagulant drugs may be advised to stop the medications a few days before the procedure and resume again after the procedure.
How is knee arthrocentesis performed?
Occasionally, knee arthrocentesis can be performed using radiological guidance as it may require to confirm the presence of fluid before aspirating. Radiological guidance can also be helpful in aspirating other deep and technically difficult joints like the hip joint or spine.
Knee arthrocentesis is a relatively quick procedure but may be performed under local anesthesia to avoid pain.
- A sterile needle of appropriate size and length is introduced into the joint and the synovial fluid is collected in syringes.
- The fluid is then analyzed microscopically. Apart from microscopic analysis, the appearance of the aspirated synovial fluid can indicate certain features.
- Normal fluid is clear or light yellow and viscous. Inflammatory fluid appears darker yellow to cloudy and loses its viscosity. Purulent fluid (pus in the fluid) is brownish to whitish and opaque.
- After the procedure, the patient is asked to rest for a few minutes, after that they can resume normal activities.
- Some patients may experience pain and bruising which resolves in a few days. Ice packs and pain killers can help reduce pain and bruising.
What are the complications of knee arthrocentesis?
Knee arthrocentesis is a relatively safe procedure and complications are rare. The common complications patients usually face are
- localized bleeding,
- swelling, and
- sometimes a reaction to local anesthesia.
Infection of the joint may occur, which is called septic arthritis.
If medications like steroids are simultaneously injected, though rare, it may cause localized shrinkage or hypopigmentation of the skin. Long-term use of steroid injections may cause systemic side effects like
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top How Is Knee Arthrocentesis Performed Related Articles
Arthritis (Joint Inflammation)Arthritis is inflammation of one or more joints. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, warmth, swelling, redness and pain. There are over 100 types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, gout, and pseudogout.
Physical and Occupational Therapy for ArthritisPhysical therapy can help a patient with arthritis to work out stiffness without damaging their joints. Occupational therapy teaches the patient how to reduce joint strain during daily activities. Those receiving occupational or physical therapy will learn about their arthritis, be given a dietary plan if they are overweight, get foot care advice, and learn methods of relieving discomfort.
GoutBuildup of uric acid crystals in a joint causes gouty arthritis. Symptoms and signs include joint pain, swelling, heat, and redness, typically of a single joint. Gout may be treated with diet and lifestyle changes, as well as medication.
Osteoarthritis (OA)Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. Also known as degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis can be caused by aging, heredity, and injury from trauma or disease.
OA of the Knee ExercisesLearn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and surrounding muscles through this picture slideshow.
Osteoarthritis SlideshowOsteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative joint disease most often affecting major joints such as knees, hands, back, or hips. Osteoarthritis symptoms include pain, swelling and joint inflammation.
Osteoarthritis QuizHow does osteoarthritis differ from other types of arthritis? Learn about osteoarthritis with this quiz.
Psoriatic Arthritis PicturePsoriatic arthritis is a specific condition in which a person has both psoriasis and arthritis. See a picture of Psoriatic Arthritis and learn more about the health topic.
Psoriatic Arthritis QuizHow is psoriatic arthritis related to psoriasis? Take this quiz to find out!
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease resulting in chronic inflammation of the joints, the tissue around the joints, as well as other organs in the body. Early RA signs and symptoms include anemia, both sides of the body affected (symmetric), depression, fatigue, fever, joint deformity, joint pain, joint redness, joint stiffness, joint swelling, joint tenderness, joint warmth, limping, loss of joint function, loss of joint range of motion, and polyarthritis.
16 Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Signs & SymptomsEarly rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms and signs vary differently from person to person. The most common body parts that are initially affected by RA include the small joints of the hands, wrists, and feet, and the knees and hip joints. Joint inflammation causes stiffness. Warmth, redness, and pain may vary in degree.
RA Friendly ExercisesRegular exercise boosts fitness and helps reverse joint stiffness for people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). WebMD demonstrates helpful exercises to get you started.
RA SlideshowWhat is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)? Learn about treatment, diagnosis, and the symptoms of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Discover rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes and the best medication for RA and JRA.
RA QuizHow is rheumatoid arthritis different from other forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and gout? Take the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Quiz to rest your RA IQ.
Rheumatoid Arthritis vs. FibromyalgiaThough rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia have similar symptoms, RA is an autoimmune disease and fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome. RA symptoms include joint redness, swelling, and pain that lasts more than six weeks. Fibromyalgia symptoms include widespread pain, tingling feet or hands, depression, and bowel irritability. Home remedies for both include stress reduction, exercise, and getting enough sleep.
Septic ArthritisSeptic arthritis, or infectious arthritis, is infection of one or more joints by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. Symptoms and signs of septic arthritis include fever, joint pain, chills, swelling, redness, warmth, and stiffness. Treatment involves antibiotics and the drainage of the infected joint.
Steroids: for the Treatment of ArthritisSteroids decrease inflammation and may be used to treat many inflammatory conditions and diseases, such as systemic vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjögren's syndrome. Steroids are injected, rather than administered orally, to deliver a high dose of medication to a specific area. Side effects of steroid injections include infection, tendon rupture, skin discoloration, allergic reaction, and weakening of bone, ligaments, and tendons.
What Is Allograft Reconstruction of ACL-Deficient Knee?The ACL-deficient knee can be repaired using an allograft reconstruction technique. Allograft reconstruction utilizes tissue (Achilles, hamstrings, or patellar tendons) obtained from a donor to reconstruct the ACL-deficient knee. The complications of allograft reconstruction include disease transmission, immune response to the implanted grafts, high failure rates, donor site complications, and infections.