What is an arthrogram?
An arthrogram is a test using x-rays to obtain a series of images of a joint after a contrast material (a liquid that can be seen on x-rays) has been injected into the joint. This allows your doctor to see the soft tissue structures of your joint capsule. These structures are not seen on a plain x-ray without contrast material. A special type of x-ray, called fluoroscopy, is used to take pictures of the joint. A MRI or CT scan is performed after the arthrogram.
How do I prepare for my arthrogram?
Please shower with antibacterial soap in order to decrease the amount of germs on the skin and reduce the chance of getting an infection.
If you are diabetic, please be sure to notify your doctor and Professional Imaging so that they are aware that you are diabetic in order to make the necessary changes to your procedure.
Do not take any medication (either prescription or over the counter), before speaking with the nurse at Professional Imaging.
Please notify the nurse if you are pregnant or think you might be, have bleeding problems, or have any allergies.
What will happen the day of the test?
After registering at the front desk, you will be taken to a dressing room where you will change into hospital attire and secure your personal belongings in a locker. You will then walk to the recovery room where the nurse will complete your assessment. The specially trained doctor performing the arthrogram will explain the procedure and risks. This is a good time to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have about the procedure.
What can I expect during my arthrogram?
You will lie on an x-ray table either on your side or on your back. Your joint will be cleansed and covered with sterile drapes. The doctor will inject a small amount of numbing medicine. The doctor will then place a needle into your joint and inject the contrast fluid; a small bandage is put over the puncture site. To move the contrast fluid through the joint, the radiologist may have you move your joint to spread the contrast. One or more x-rays are taken to show that fluid has filled the entire joint space. The test will take about 30 to 40 minutes.
What will happen following the arthrogram?
You will proceed to either MRI or CT for a scan of your joint. After the arthrogram, rest your joint for about 12 hours. Do not do any strenuous activity for 1 to 2 days. Any contrast administered for your exam will be eliminated in a day or two.
How will I get the results of my test?
The results of your examination will be available to your physician within 24-48 hours of the examination. Your physician is in the best position to explain the results of the examination.