Medical Definition of Arthrocentesis

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Arthrocentesis: A procedure in which a sterile needle and syringe are used to drain fluid from the joint. This is usually done as an office procedure or at the bedside in the hospital. For certain conditions, medication is put into the joint after fluid removal. The needle is then removed, and a bandage or dressing is applied over the entry point. Joint fluid can be examined to determine the cause of the joint swelling, such as infection, gout, or rheumatoid disease. Arthrocentesis can be helpful in relieving joint swelling and pain. Also known as joint aspiration.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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