Arthrogram is a diagnostic tool performed in conjunction with MRI, CT or X-ray to evaluate joint space, including hips, ankles, shoulders, knees, etc. You will have contrast injected into your joint that enhances the visualization of structures and aids in the evaluation of joint abnormalities, such as a cartilage tear or other injuries.
How should I prepare?
- Wear a pair of shorts or something that will not cover the knee.
- No other preparation needed.
What should I expect?
- You will be asked to lay on an X-ray table.
- Your skin is cleaned with an antiseptic and numbed with Lidocaine (a numbing drug).
- Then, a needle is placed into the joint space using X-rays for guidance.
- Contrast solution (dye) is injected through the needle for easier viewing.
- The needle is removed, and the joint is exercised so that the dye will coat the lining of the joint.
- An MRI or CT exam might be performed, if needed.
After the procedure
- After the procedure, you may resume normal daily activities with the exception of athletic activities, which should be avoided for 24 hours. Athletes should consult their physician or trainer prior to resuming practice.
- You may experience some discomfort of the joint a day or two after the arthrogram. You may treat the pain with over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines such as Advil or Tylenol. Ice packs for the first 24 hours (3-4 times up to 15 minutes per time may be helpful, followed the next day with heat 4 times a day for 20 minutes each) if necessary.
- Your joint may feel “full or squishy” for several days.
- Minor complications such as discomfort or local bleeding/bruising where the needle is inserted may occur. A few patients may have an allergic reaction from the contrast material. Please inform the technologist prior to your exam if you have a known allergy to Iodine or X-ray dye.
- Infection of the joint is a rare but serious complication of arthrography and requires treatment with antibiotics. If you have symptoms of pain, swelling, red skin or fever three or more days after the arthrogram, please contact your physician.
How will I find out my results?
After the procedure, your physician will receive a copy of your results to discuss with you.