What is a Joint Aspiration Procedure, Why is it Done, How is it Done?

What Is A Joint Aspiration Procedure?

Joint Aspiration is an outpatient procedure that is done for patients who have fluid accumulation in the joint. This fluid accumulation leads to lot of pain and stiffness and also adversely affects the functioning of the joint. Joint Aspiration Procedure usually requires a needle and a syringe and is done under local anesthesia. This procedure is usually done to reduce swelling and pain and improve motion of the joint by removing the fluid accumulated in the joint.

The fluid obtained from the Joint Aspiration procedure is then sent for analysis to rule in or rule out any infection that may be present in the joint. The most common area where a Joint Aspiration procedure is done is the knee as this is the most used joint in the body and bears almost all of the body weight.

The function of the knee makes it vulnerable to many medical conditions due to continuous wear and tear, especially as an individual gets older. However, Joint Aspiration Procedure also is done for the shoulder, hip, ankle, elbow, and even the wrist.

What Is A Joint Aspiration Procedure?

Why Is A Joint Aspiration Procedure Done & What Are Its Risks?

As stated, a Joint Aspiration procedure is done to remove fluid accumulated in a joint of the body. It is usually a diagnostic tool to help aid in diagnosis of a condition that may be present resulting in accumulation of fluid in a particular joint. Once the fluid obtained is analyzed the following conditions may be diagnosed:

At times, a condition called as bursitis causes excess fluid to accumulate around a joint resulting in decreased functioning of the joint, severe pain and swelling. This again calls for a Joint Aspiration Procedure to remove the fluid around the joint to relieve pain, swelling and inflammation such that the joint starts functioning normally again.

As is the case with any procedure, a Joint Aspiration Procedure also has its inherent risks and they include persistent discomfort at the site of the aspiration, bruising at the site, and swelling at the site of the aspiration. There have also been cases of an infection followed by a Joint Aspiration Procedure.

How Is A Joint Aspiration Procedure Done?

A joint Aspiration Procedure is done on an outpatient basis and does not require a hospital stay. It is usually done under general anesthesia. The patient will be positioned such that the joint to be aspirated can be accessed easily by the healthcare provider. The skin overlying the areas to be aspirated will be cleansed with alcohol swabs or other antiseptic solution. A local anesthetic will be given so that the area of the aspiration becomes numb. The provider will then insert a needle into the joint and remove the fluid by pulling it into the syringe.

The process will be repeated until all the fluid is withdrawn from the site. The needle will be removed and a sterile bandage will be applied. After about an hour’s rest, the patient will be allowed to leave the clinic. The fluid taken out from the joint will be sent to the laboratory for analysis.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 29, 2018

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