What equipment is needed to perform wrist arthrocentesis?

Updated: Nov 03, 2020
  • Author: Richard S Krause, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
  • Print

Aspiration of the wrist does not require specialized equipment.

Sterile technique must be followed during the procedure. Some experienced operators do not use sterile gloves. In this case, a no-touch technique is employed, in which palpation and marking of the puncture site precede application of the antiseptic. After the initial marking, the area is not touched. If the no-touch technique is used, nonsterile gloves should still be worn to protect the operator. Relatively inexperienced operators should wear sterile gloves. 

A 20-gauge needle should be used. For septic arthritis, an 18-gauge needle may occasionally be required, if the fluid is too viscous to allow aspiration through a smaller needle.

A 5-mL syringe is usually the most appropriate size. A "reciprocating syringe" has been developed to improve procedural performance. Some randomized data suggest that these syringes have benefits when compared with conventional syringes for joint aspiration. [12]

Forceps may be useful for holding the needle when changing the syringe between aspiration of the joint and injection of medication into the synovial cavity.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!