Medical Definition of Aspiration, joint

  • 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.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Aspiration, joint: A procedure whereby a sterile needle and syringe are used to drain joint fluid from the joint. This is usually done as an office procedure or at the bedside in the hospital. The procedure is also known medically as arthrocentesis,

For an arthrocentesis, the skin over the joint is sterilized with a liquid. Local anesthetic is applied to the area of the joint either by injection or topical liquid freezing, or both. A needle with a syringe attached is inserted within the joint and fluid is sucked back (aspirated). For certain conditions medication is put into the joint after fluid removal. The needle is then removed and a bandaid or dressing is applied over the entry point.

Joint fluid is typically sent for examination to the lab to determine the cause of the joint swelling, such as infection, gout, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthrocentesis can be helpful in relieving joint swelling and pain. Occasionally, cortisone medications are injected into the joint during the arthrocentesis in order to rapidly relieve joint inflammation and further reduce symptoms.

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The term arthritis refers to stiffness in the joints. See Answer

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018