Arthrocentesis: Reasons to tap that joint…



  1. fluid for analysis
    – infection
    – crystals
  2. drain tense haemarthroses
    – trauma
    – hemophilia (only after factor replacement)
    – evaluate communication with a wound
    – instillation of analgesics (remember you can inject
    morphine in a joint) or anti-inflammatory agents

Contraindications (pretty much all relative):

  1. cellulitis over the joint
  2. coagulopathy (but with small needle, it’s well described)
  3. prosthetic joint (you really want ortho involved here)


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