Joint Arthrocentesis

  • Daniel PurcellEmail author
  • Bryan A. Terry
  • Brian R. Sharp


Non-traumatic as well as penetrating joint injuries may sometimes require analysis that extends beyond history, physical examination, and associated imaging. Arthrocentesis can be an invaluable tool for advanced evaluation of potential intra-articular pathology, providing firm support for establishment of a more definitive diagnosis. It requires intricate knowledge of surface and deep anatomy, as well as implementation of meticulous technique to execute in an efficient and productive manner. The following section will describe various joint arthrocentesis procedures, including detailed instruction ranging from indications to actual physical performance.


Joint arthrocentesis Septic arthritis Quadricep/patellar tendon Tibial plateau Coracoid process Spine of scapula Tibialis anterior tendon Dorsalis pedis artery Deep peroneal nerve Olecranon process Lateral epicondyle Radial head Lister’s tubercle Extensor pollicis longus tendon 

Suggested Reading

  1. 1.
    Ahmed I, et al. Safety of arthrocentesis and joint injection in patients receiving anticoagulation at therapeutic levels. Am J Med. 2012;125(3):265–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bauer T, et al. Diagnosis of periprosthetic joint infection. JBJS. 2006;88:869–82.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bork S, et al. Elbow arthrocentesis. Scholar
  4. 4.
    Burton J. Acute disorders of the joints and bursae. In: Tintinalli’s emergency medicine. 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2004. p. 1795–800.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the elbow region. Am Fam Phys. 2002;66:2097–100.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the hip and knee region. Am Fam Phys. 2003;67:2147–52.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Krause R, et al. Wrist arthrocentesis. Scholar
  8. 8.
    Parillo S, Fisher J. Arthrocentesis. In: Roberts JR, Hedges J, editors. Clinical procedures in emergency medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2004. p. 1042–57.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Reichman E, et al. Joint arthrocentesis. Emerg Med Proc. 2003;65:559–84.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Siva C, Velazquez C, Mody A, Brasington R. Diagnosing acute monoarthritis in adults: a practical approach for the family physician. Am Fam Phys. 2003;68(1):83–90.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sclamovitz G, et al. Knee arthrocentesis technique. Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tallia AF, et al. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the ankle and foot. Am Fam Phys. 2003;68(7):1356–63.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tallia AF, Cardone DA. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the shoulder region. Am Fam Phys. 2003;67:1271–8.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Tallia AF, Cardone DA. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the wrist and hand region. Am Fam Phys. 2003;67:745–50.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Wise C. Arthrocentesis and injection of joints and soft tissue. In: Kelley’s textbook of rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2009.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Woodward TW, Best TM. The painful shoulder: part II. Acute and chronic disorders. Am Fam Phys. 2000;61:3291–300.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Zink B, Raukar N. Bone and joint infections. In: Rosen’s emergency medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. p. 1830–5.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Zuber TJ. Knee joint aspiration and injection. Am Fam Phys. 2002;66(8):1497–500, 1503–4, 1507.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Purcell
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bryan A. Terry
    • 2
  • Brian R. Sharp
    • 3
  1. 1.Emergency DepartmentNew York University Langone Medical Center BrooklynNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.The Brooklyn Hospital CenterBrooklynUSA
  3. 3.BerbeeWalsh Department of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public HealthMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations