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This page is for information purposes only. For advice and specific questions please contact your primary care or referring physician.
An arthrogram is a special X-ray examination that uses contrast material to image an anatomical joint such as a shoulder, wrist, elbow, knee, hip or ankle. The arthrogram is used to show injury or disease to the joint. Joint injections are also performed to administer mediation into joints. This procedure may also be combined with a MRI (per physician orders).
There is no special preparation for these examinations except for those patients who take blood thinners, such as coumadin., baby aspirin, etc. Patients must stop taking the blood thinner 3-5 days prior to the examination date. Patients must first check with their physician prior to stopping their blood thinner medication. Because contrast material is used for the arthrogram, please advise the technologist if you have an allergy to medication, foods, and have any history of hayfever or asthma.
- You will be asked to lie on your back on the X-ray table.
- The affected joint will be exposed and scrubbed with a sterile solution. Sterile drapes will be placed around the joint.
- The radiologist will inject a local anesthetic into the joint. He/she will then place a small needle into the joint to inject contrast material. You may experience a full feeling in the joint space.
- Several different projections will be taken by the technologist.
- Once these are reviewed by the radiologist, you may be asked to exercise your joint.
- The technologist will instruct you how to do this and additional films will be taken.
- You may continue to experience a full feeling in the affected joint.
- You should not experience any pain.
- Any discomfort you may have can be controlled with over the counter medicines such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If redness or swelling occur at the injection site, please call your physician. The radiologist will send a report to your physician, who will discuss the findings with you.
If you are of child bearing age and think there is any possibility of pregnancy it is important that you inform the physician ordering these x-rays and tell the technologist taking your x-rays. If you have any known allergies to contrast, iodine, or foods please inform your physician BEFORE proceeding with any of the instructions that follow.