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Joint Aspiration

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What do I need to know about joint aspiration?

Joint aspiration is a procedure to remove fluid from the space around your joint. It may be done on a joint such as the knee, hip, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist. It may be used to find the cause of a swollen joint. Joint aspiration can also be done to help decrease pain caused by swelling and improve movement of your joint.

How do I prepare for joint aspiration?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for this procedure. You will be told which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may need to stop taking blood thinners several days before your procedure.

What will happen during joint aspiration?

You may be given local anesthesia to numb the area where the needle will be injected. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure during the procedure, but you should not feel any pain. Your healthcare provider may use ultrasound or x-ray to guide the needle to the right area. Your provider will then insert the needle into your joint and draw back fluid into a syringe. A bandage will be placed on the injection site. The fluid may be sent to a lab for tests.

What are the risks of joint aspiration?

You may get an infection in your joint or bleed more than expected. Cartilage in your joint may be injured by the needle.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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