What are the therapeutic indications for wrist arthrocentesis?

Updated: Nov 03, 2020
  • Author: Richard S Krause, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Therapeutic indications include the following:

  • Removal of tense effusions to relieve pain and improve function
  • Removal of blood or pus from a joint
  • Injection of corticosteroids and other intra-articular therapies
  • Lavage of the joint

In patients with tense joint effusions, aspiration of synovial fluid provides prompt relief of pain and permits the patient to move or bear weight on the affected joint. In hemarthrosis or septic arthritis, the blood or pus within a synovial cavity may be damaging to the joint cartilage and synovial membrane. Evacuation of the inflammatory fluid may help ameliorate joint damage. Large articular effusions should be drained as fully as possible to decrease pressure, improve synovial circulation, and prevent muscle atrophy.

Other indications can be for injection in rheumatoid arthritis (RA), [6] other sterile synovitises, and osteoarthritis (OA). OA can be secondary to calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease (CPPD) or hemochromatosis.

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