What Happens During A Joint Aspiration
A joint aspiration may be done on an outpatient basis or as part ofyour stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on yourcondition and your healthcare providerâs practices.
Generally, a joint aspiration procedure follows this process:
You will be asked to remove clothing and will be given a gown to wear.
You will be positioned so that the healthcare provider can easily reach the joint that is to be aspirated.
The skin over the joint aspiration site will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution.
If a local anesthetic is used, you will feel a needle stick when the anesthetic is injected. This may cause a brief stinging sensation.
The healthcare provider will insert the needle through the skin into the joint. You may feel some discomfort or pressure.
The healthcare provider will remove the fluid by drawing it into a syringe that is attached to the needle.
The needle will be removed and a sterile bandage or dressing will be applied.
The fluid sample will be sent to the lab for examination.
Symptoms Of A Swollen Knee
- The skin around the kneecap is puffy
- The knee is stiff and its difficult to bend or straighten it
- Its painful and bearing weight is difficult or impossible
- Redness or warmth
Swelling that does not go away, also known as chronic swelling, can lead to joint damage, cartilage degradation, or bone softening.
Are There Any Risks Associated With Knee Aspiration
While complications due to knee aspiration are less likely, there are some risks associated with any procedure. Some risks that may be involved with knee aspiration include discomfort and pain at the local site, sometimes swelling or bruising may be seen, rarely an infection can develop at the aspiration site or within the joint.
In order to avoid such complications, proper physician training is ensured and appropriate preventive measures are implemented.
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Make An Appointment With An Orthoneuro Knee Specialist Today
If you have been experiencing symptoms of knee effusion, schedule an appointment with one of our Board Certified Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Specialists at one of our 7 convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus.
We will evaluate your unique lifestyle and goals to determine which type of treatment is best for you.
Hemarthrosis: What Causes Bleeding In The Knee And How To Treat It
Hemarthrosis or articular bleeding is hemorrhaging inside joints, which can cause extreme swelling and pain. The knee is one of the most common areas affected by hemarthrosis, and if it goes untreated, it can lead to permanent damage. Here we take a look at what leads to bleeding in the knee joints and how it can be treated.
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Injuries That May Lead To Knee Swelling
- Meniscal tears
Needless to say, the gravity of some of these conditions is worse than others. For instance, malignant tumors are far worse than mild sprains, osteoarthritis is a localized issue whereas rheumatoid arthritis involves your entire immune system, and so on and so forth.
Now that weve got the basics covered, lets move on to why youre really here.
How To Drain Fluid From Knee
Treating the underlying cause of a swollen knee might require:
- Arthrocentesis. Removing fluid from the knee can help relieve pressure on the joint. After aspirating joint fluid, your doctor might inject a corticosteroid into the joint to treat inflammation.
- Arthroscopy. A lighted tube is inserted through a small incision into your knee joint. Tools attached to the arthroscope can remove loose tissue or repair damage in your knee.
- Joint replacement. If bearing weight on your knee joint becomes intolerable, you might need knee replacement surgery.
Your doctor might also recommend physical therapy to improve your knees function and strength.
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What Happens After A Joint Aspiration
Once you are home, it is important for you to keep the joint aspirationsite clean and dry. Leave the bandage in place for as long asinstructed by your healthcare provider.
The aspiration site may be tender or sore for a few days after thejoint aspiration procedure. Take a pain reliever for soreness asrecommended by your healthcare provider. Aspirin or certain other painmedicines may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take onlyrecommended medicines.
Notify your healthcare provider to report any of the following:
Fever of 100.4Â°F or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider
Redness, swelling, bleeding, or other drainage from the aspiration site
Increased pain around the aspiration site
Your healthcare provider may give you additional or alternateinstructions after the procedure, depending on your particularsituation.
How Do I Get Ready For A Joint Aspiration
Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure to you and offer you the chance to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
Tell your healthcare provider if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medicines, latex, tape, and anesthetic agents .
Tell your healthcare provider of all medicines and herbal supplements that you are taking.
Tell your healthcare provider if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant medicines, aspirin, or other medicines that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop these medicines before the procedure.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, you should notify your healthcare provider.
Generally, no prior preparation, such as fasting or sedation is needed.
Based on your medical condition, your healthcare provider may request other specific preparation.
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How Does An Orthopedist Treat Fluid On The Knee
The team of orthopedic knee specialists begins with a thorough exam and testing to identify the underlying condition causing the liquid accumulation.
They review your health information and symptoms and complete a physical exam.
When necessary, your physician may order blood tests, other lab work, X-rays, and magnetic resonance imaging scans.
Once your orthopedist understands your needs, they may recommend an aspiration treatment to extract fluid from the swollen knee joint.
During this process, your doctor numbs the site and uses a hollow needle to drain fluid from the knee. They may also provide a knee brace to stabilize and support your leg.
Your doctor can also recommend treatment for the underlying issue causing your symptoms.
Arthrocentesis Of The Knee
The knee and connecting suprapatellar pouch can be punctured while the patient is supine and the knee is extended. The needle, 18- or 20-gauge, can be inserted anteromedially, under the cephalad half or third of the patella. Alternatively, the needle can be inserted laterally, just under the cephalad edge of the patella .
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What Is Knee Aspiration
Knee aspiration is a procedure in which a sterile needle and syringe is used to drain the excess fluid accumulated in the knee joint. It is generally performed under local anesthesia. The drained fluid can be sent for synovial fluid analysis, which can help to detect various conditions causing knee swelling. Sometimes, drainage of sufficient amounts of excess fluid can also help in reducing the pain and swelling thus providing some relief. As a treatment modality, a procedure that enables injection of medicines into the joint after drainage of fluid may also be performed. Knee aspiration procedure is sometimes performed under the guidance of imaging studies.
That Being Said You Can Basically Group Effusions Into 2 Kinds:
Small and large.
According to a study, small joint effusions dont show any symptoms, can happen to anyone, and typically resolve on their own.
Large effusions, on the other hand, are what you have to watch out for because theyre clear giveaways that something is wrong, which brings us to the next part of our discussion.
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Take The Plastic Wrap And Firmly Wrap Around The Affected Knee
Once the paste is firmly in place tear off the wrap and adjust it so that it is only covering the affected area.
Once applied the paste will feel initially cool.
You may even feel a drawing sensation through your knee.
The Sodium Bicarbonate paste will need several hours to work.
Sodium Bicarbonate acts as a drawing agent. The now moistened salts will draw in whatever they can until they are saturated.
Because the plastic wrap acts as a seal, there is no other place to draw from other than your swollen knee.
How well it works will depend on how wet you have made the paste and the amount of fluid to be removed from your knee.
The best time to apply the paste is at night before going to bed.
That way, the Sodium Bicarbonate has the most time to draw out the fluid while you sleep.
Warning: in the morning the wrap and paste may smell from sweat and knee fluid. In the morning simply discard the Sodium Bicarbonate paste, pantyhose and wrap.This method can be applied as often as needed.
Sodium Bicarbonate is a widely used compound therefore it is highly unlikely that anyone would have an adverse reaction to it.
There are no known adverse side effects from applying Sodium Bicarbonate to the skin.
If however, you start to feel that something is not quite right or you feel pain, then discontinue and seek the opinion of your trusted medical professional.
What Are The Symptoms Of Fluid On The Knee
See your doctor if you have knee swelling and other symptoms that persist or worsen despite home treatment. You should seek prompt medical care if the swollen knee is also warm or red compared to the other knee or if you also have a fever. Seek immediate medical care any time you have significant trauma involving the knee.
The symptoms that occur with fluid on the knee can vary with the underlying cause. When only one knee is affected, symptoms are noticeable compared to the other knee.
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Bakers Cyst Vs Ganglion Cyst: How To Tell The Difference
A ganglion cyst also called a meniscal cyst comes from a meniscal tear. These cysts form on the inside or the outside of the knee. However, sometimes, the cyst can develop at the back of the knee and can mimic a Bakers cyst. Generally, an ultrasound is useful to determine whether the swelling at the back of the knee is a Bakers cyst or a meniscal cyst. The picture below shows a deep ganglion cyst coming from the meniscus in the joint.
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Reasons You May Need A Joint Aspiration
Arthritis, infection, and joint injuries are associated with inflammation and swelling. This swelling occurs when excess fluid collects inside a joint capsule. Your physician may remove the excess fluid using a needle and syringe. This procedure is called joint aspiration or arthrocentesis.
Joint aspiration is generally considered a quick, safe procedure. It typically involves a local anesthetic, so youll feel minimal pain and discomfort. It may be done in your doctors office or a hospital setting. Medical imaging, such as ultrasound, may be used to ensure that the needle enters the joint capsule, minimizing the potential risk of damage to other tissues.
This page describes a joints anatomy and three reasons why your doctor may recommend an aspiration.
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In This Case Excess Fluid In The Knee Is Essentially What Joint Effusion Is
Research from the Journal of The Royal Society of Medicine says that knee effusion is more common than in any other joint because of 2 connected reasons:
- You bear weight on it, but
- Your knee joint isnt as congruent as your other weight-bearing joints
Soft tissues such as the menisci right in the middle of the joint, as well as the ligaments and joint capsule that tie them all together, make up for the incongruency.
What Is Water On The Knee
Water on the knee is a result of your bodys natural efforts to protect itself.
When you injure your knee joint causing irritation and inflammation, your body produces extra joint fluid to cushion and lubricate your joints.
The extra fluid causes:
You wont be able to put pressure on your knee. Fluid on the knee can also limit your mobility and make it painful to go up and downstairs, kneel, or squat.
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How Does Arthrocentesis Work
Fluid buildup in joints puts pressure on the joint. Excess fluid causes pain and swelling. You may find it difficult to bend and move the joint.
Your healthcare provider may drain the fluid and send a sample to a lab. Tests can determine the cause of the fluid buildup.
As a treatment, joint aspiration eases swelling and joint pressure. You should have less pain and find it easier to move after this procedure. Excess fluid often comes back. You may need joint aspiration again.
Healthcare providers typically use arthrocentesis on the:
- Hips, knees, ankles and feet.
- Elbows, shoulders, wrists and hands.
What Is A Joint Aspiration
Joint aspiration is a procedure whereby a sterile needle and syringe are used to drain synovial fluid from a patients joint. Joint aspiration is typically performed by a doctor or ancillary health care provider as an office procedure or at the bedside of hospitalized patients. Joint aspiration is sometimes called joint drainage and is medically referred to as arthrocentesis.
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Drain/injection Joint Without Ultrasound Guidance
About This Procedure:
To drain fluid from the knee a needle is inserted into the knee joint and the fluid is removed with a syringe. For some patients the procedure is to relieve pain and swelling in a joint. For others, the fluid is tested to learn the cause of the inflammation. After the knee fluid is drained some people get a cortisone shot to reduce the inflammation.
This procedure is done outpatient or in the doctors office and the patient returns home the same day. Patients can save money by shopping for this service as there may be many office and outpatient centers locally that offer this care.
Treating the knee by draining the fluid is not always needed. Some people get better with rest and icing the area, over-the counter medications, physical therapy, a cortisone shot, and using a cane for support.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
- Allergic reaction, such as worsening pain or difficulty breathing.
- Signs of infection, such as redness, heat or swelling at the treatment site.
- Worsening pain at the treatment site.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Joint aspiration can help your healthcare provider determine the cause of joint inflammation and pain. The procedure is also therapeutic. When combined with joint injections, you may get temporary symptom relief. Talk with your provider about whether these treatments are a good option for you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/23/2021.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Viscosupplementation. Accessed 2/5/2021.
- American College of Rheumatology. Joint Injections . Accessed 2/5/2021.
- InformedHealth.org. Joint Aspiration. Accessed 2/5/2021.
- National Health Service . Hydrocortisone Injections. Accessed 2/5/2021.
- Zuber TJ. Knee Joint Aspiration and Injection. American Family Physician. 2002 66:1497-1501.Accessed 2/5/2021.
Seeing A Doctor Is Important
Because of the detrimental and debilitating effect that knee synovial fluid accumulation can have on a patients life, it is essential to do everything possible to avoid it in the first place. Caution is always recommended when practicing any brusque physical activity. Weight management is also a valid preventative technique as excess weight puts an unnecessary strain upon the joints of the body.
It is also important to listen to your bodys signals and warnings. If you feel pain or discomfort on the knee joint, stop whatever it is you are doing and give your body a chance to rest. Doing this will significantly reduce the risk of suffering any eventual pain, stiffness, and swelling.
What Is Synovial Fluid Analysis Or Knee Aspiration Fluid Analysis
Synovial Fluid Analysis or Knee Aspiration Fluid Analysis When there is a suspicion of a particular condition, a diagnosis needs to be established. The synovial fluid, which is drained or aspirated from the joint, is examined and analyzed in the laboratory for its nature and presence of certain factors that aid in diagnosis of the condition. Specific findings help in determining the condition causing knee swelling.
The type of fluid and its detailed analysis guides in making a diagnosis of the condition. Some of the general findings include:
- Fracture or ligament injuries may show blood in the fluid.
- Meniscus injury or osteoarthritis may show straw colored or pale yellow fluid.
- Presence of crystals may mean gout or pseudogout.
- Turbid fluid or presence of pus may mean there is an infection.
- Gram staining and culture tests of the fluid can help in detecting the microorganism causing infection.
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Indications Of Knee Aspiration For Therapeutic Purposes Include
- Relieving Tense Effusion When knee swelling is large or tense or pain causes discomfort, drainage of fluid helps to relieve the pressure and pain.2 Reduction in swelling and decreased tension aids in improving joint movement.
- Drainage of Infected Fluid In a known infective condition, drainage of septic effusion can help in providing relief, improve joint movement and prevent damage to the joint.
- Injection of Medications into the Knee Joint Knee aspiration and injection is at times performed to provide relief in joint conditions.3