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Learn More About Arthrocentesis of the Knee

When it comes to knee care, doctors might use different procedures to either diagnose or treat a problem. One common option is referred to as arthrocentesis. This is a procedure where a doctor uses a needle to withdraw fluid from a joint, and the knee joint is the most common joint to have this procedure. It is important to know what to expect with the procedure because this can make you more relaxed and it also makes it easier to prepare and anticipate your recovery.

What is Arthrocentesis?

This is a procedure that involves removing fluid from your knee for the purpose of alleviating joint pain or pressure, or for diagnostic testing purposes. There are two types of fluid that your doctor might extract. The most common is your synovial fluid. This fluid is responsible for ensuring easier movement of your joint while giving some cushioning between the bones of the joint. The second is the synovial fluid located in the tiny bursae sacs. Removing this specific synovial fluid is usually done when someone has bursitis, which means one of the tiny sacs is inflamed.

 Using an Arthrocentesis

When it is used for pain, this procedure might be beneficial because it can remove some of the excess fluid that is causing swelling in your joint. Aspirating the excess fluid will improve comfort and can make it easier to move. When this procedure is used for diagnostic purposes, your doctor might perform it to diagnose:

    • A joint infection
    • Bursitis
    • A joint disorder
    • A traumatic injury where there is bleeding in the joint

Preparing for the Procedure

Your doctor will examine your knee and talk to you about an allergies, medications and medical conditions. For example, if you take blood thinners, they may need to be adjusted temporarily before the procedure to reduce the risk of excess bleeding.

Exploring the Procedure

The total procedure takes about 10 minutes and usually goes as follows:

    • You are positioned on the table and the puncture spot is marked
    • The area is cleaned and imaging technology is setup to help the doctor guide the needle
    • A numbing medication is injected to enhance your comfort
    • The needle is guided into the desired area and the excess fluid is aspirated
    • The needle is removed and the area is bandaged

Looking at Recovery

It is possible to have some soreness and mild discomfort following the procedure. Your doctor will give you recovery instructions that can help to make this more manageable. Your doctor will also give you information on any restrictions you might have.

With this information, you can ensure better knee care. Your doctor will discuss this procedure with you and give you a chance to ask questions so that you are fully informed. Make sure to follow all of the preparation and recovery instructions exactly to make the experience smoother.

If you would like to request a consultation with one of the knee replacement specialists at the Orthopedic & Sports Institute (OSI), please call (920) 560-1000 or request an appointment online. Additionally, OSI is Northeast Wisconsin’s exclusive provider of the Mako Arm-Assisted Robotic Surgery platform for total and partial knee replacement.

The Orthopedic & Sports Institute has convenient locations to serve you. In addition to the flagship facility in Appleton, you will find outreach clinics in New London, Ripon, Shawano, Waupaca, and the newest location serving the Green Bay area, inside the NOVO Health Clinic in De Pere.

OSI is a proud member of NOVO Health.