Joint Aspiration

Joint aspiration refers to removing fluid from the space around a joint using a needle and syringe. This is usually performed under a local anesthetic to either relieve swelling or to obtain fluid for analysis to diagnose a joint disorder and/or problem.

What should I expect?

  • You will be asked to lie on an x-ray table. X-rays will be used to determine the best entry point for the injections. Your skin will be cleaned with antiseptic. A local anesthetic (numbing drug) will be used to numb the skin and deeper tissues. The doctor will then place a needle in the joint space to aspirate the fluid. You may experience temporary weakness in the extremity due to the numbing drug injection. This is a recognized side effect of the injection and will wear off with time.
  • Your joint may feel “squishy” for several days.
  • Minor complications such as discomfort or local bleeding/bruising where the needle is inserted may occur.
  • Infection of the joint is a rare but serious complication of joint injection and requires treatment with antibiotics. If you have symptoms of pain, swelling, red skin or fever three or more days after the injection, please contact your physician.
  • After the procedure, your physician will receive a copy of your report within 24-48 hours, and he or she will be the one to give you the test results.

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