Arthrocentesis is the clinical procedure of using a syringe to collect synovial fluid from a joint capsule. It is also known as joint aspiration. Arthrocentesis is used in the diagnosis of gout, arthritis, and synovial infections.

Arthrocentesis (synovial fluid aspiration) can be performed either diagnostically (for identification of acute arthritis) or therapeutically (for pain relief, drainage of infected fluid, or injection of medications).

Arthrocentesis Indications:

  • Evaluation of joint fluid
  • Identification of intra-articular fracture or ligament tear
  • Pain relief by removing excess fluid or blood
  • Injection of medication (eg, corticosteroids, antibiotics, or anesthetics)
  • Drainage of infected fluid

Contraindications for Arthrocentesis

  • Skin lesion or dermatitis in affected area
  • Inability for blood to clot
  • Cellulitis (infection of skin) overlying the joint


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