Arthrocentesis takes joint fluid out using a needle. It can be done in most of the joints in the body. It is usually done on large joints like the knee or shoulder.

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Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing
  • Infection
  • Increased pain
  • Damage to nearby structures

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • An infection in the body
  • Bleeding problems
  • Use of blood thinners



This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (Joint Aspiration)


Arthritis Foundation 

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases 


The Arthritis Society 

Canadian Orthopaedic Association 


Joint aspiration (arthrocentesis). Rady Children's Hospital San Diego website. Available at: Accessed September 28, 2020.

Synovial fluid analysis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed September 28, 2020.

Synovial fluid analysis. Lab Tests Online—American Association for Clinical Chemistry website. Available at: Accessed September 28, 2020.

Tercic D, Bozic B. The basis of the synovial fluid analysis. Clin Chem Lab Med 2001; 39(12):1221-1226.