Ultrasound-Guided Joint Aspirations

The most common joint that is aspirated, or drained, is the knee joint. There are many reasons why the knee may have an effusion (fluid in the joint). The most common causes include direct trauma, fractures, ligament or meniscus tears, or arthritis. An aspiration is a procedure whereby a sterile needle and syringe are used to drain joint fluid from the joint. This is performed under ultrasound guidance to ensure proper placement of the needle. This procedure is helpful in reliving pain and stiffness in the joint by decreasing the pressure caused by the increase in fluid. In the case of a possible septic (infected) joint, or to assess for certain types of arthritis, such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis, the fluid is sent to the lab for further evaluation.