This is a procedure to take joint fluid out of a joint using a sterile needle. This can be done in most of the joints in the body, but it is usually done on larger ones, such as the knee or shoulder.
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Arthrocentesis is done to:
- Find out why a joint is painful, swollen, or fluid-filled
- Drain fluid out of a swollen joint to decrease pain and increase your ability to move the joint
- Diagnose the specific type of arthritis occurring within a joint
- Confirm a diagnosis of infection in the joint
- Check for crystals in the joint fluid, which could be a sign of gout
In some cases, the doctor may inject medication into the joint space after the fluid has been taken out.
Last reviewedJune 2013by John C. Keel, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.