Joint Aspiration (cont.)
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.
In this Article
- What is a joint aspiration?
- What is the purpose of joint aspiration?
- How is joint aspiration preformed?
- What are complications of joint aspiration?
- Find a local Orthopedic Surgeon in your town
How is joint aspiration performed?
The skin over the joint is sterilized using a liquid, typically iodine solution (Betadine). Local anesthetic is used in the area of the joint; either by injection, topical liquid freezing, or both. A needle with a syringe attached is inserted within the joint an fluid is sucked back (aspirated) into the syringe. For certain conditions, the doctor will also inject medication into the joint after fluid removal. The needle is then removed and a Band-Aid or dressing is applied over the entry point.
What are complications of joint aspiration?
Complications of joint aspiration are uncommon. Possible complications include local bruising, minor bleeding into the joint, and loss of pigment in the skin that was entered by the needle. A rare but serious complication of joint aspiration is infection of the joint (septic arthritis).
If cortisone-related medications (corticosteroids) are injected into the joint, additional uncommon complications include inflammation in the joint as a result of the medication crystallizing, shrinkage (atrophy) or loss of pigment of skin at the injection site, increased blood sugar (worsening of diabetes mellitus), and aggravation of preexisting infection elsewhere in the body. If multiple injections with corticosteroids are given too frequently, it is possible to develop systemic side effects (side effects throughout the body), such as weight gain, puffy face and trunk, and easy bruising.
Last Editorial Review: 5/5/2008
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