What equipment is needed to perform joint aspiration (arthrocentesis)?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020
  • Author: Steven N Berney, MD; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS  more...
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Personal protective equipment includes the following:

  • Gloves
  • Face shield (optional)

Anesthesia equipment includes the following:

  • 1% lidocaine solution
  • 25- or 27-gauge needle

Sterilization materials include the following:

  • Povidone-iodine solution or chlorhexidine
  • Alcohol wipes

Aspiration materials include the following:

  • 1.5-in. (3.8-cm) 21- to 18-gauge needle for large joints (eg, knee, ankle or shoulder)
  • 1-in. (2.5-cm) 21-gauge needle for medium joints (eg, wrist)
  • 1-in. (2.5-cm) 25-gauge needle for small joints (eg, metacarpophalangeal [MCP] or metatarsophalangeal [MTP])
  • Longer needles if needed for deep joints or very obese patients
  • 3-, 10-, or 20-mL syringe, as appropriate for the joint and the size of the effusion
  • Adhesive bandage
  • Sterile gauze
  • Heparinized (green top) tubes and sterile culture bottles (optional)

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