An Arthrogram is an imaging exam used to evaluate major joints such as shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee and ankle. With the help of contrast dye that is injected into your joint, an X-ray, MRI, CT or fluoroscopy is used to provide valuable information about the afflicted joint and what might be causing pain or limiting mobility.
What You Need To Know
- Although complications are rare, we will review side effects and risks with your prior to your exam so you can ask questions and decide if this exam is right for you.
- If you are having an MRI arthrogram, you will be required to remove any metals and will be provided a pair of scrubs to change into. This is because it is not safe to have metal in the MRI room — including certain fabrics that may contain small amounts of metal that can cause burns.
These items include:
- Jewelry, watches and hair clips
- Body piercings
- Metal fragments (such as bullets, shrapnel or filings)
- Skin patches that contain metal
- Medical implants (such as valves, clips, stents, joints, pins or screws)
- Implanted medical devices (such as pacemakers, neurostimulators, cochlear implants, drug pumps or cardioverter-defibrillator)
- External medical devices (such as hearing aids, artificial limbs)
For our full MRI safety checklist, click here.
What to Expect
- We’ll give you a call before your appointment to talk through preparation instructions and your past imaging exams.
- If your exam requires contrast, we’ll discuss any special requirements with you.
- Be sure to tell us if you are pregnant, nursing, or if there is a chance you may be pregnant.
- On the day of your exam, please arrive 15 minutes early for check-in. If instructed to do so, please bring prior imaging results with you.
- When you arrive, you will be led to a changing room and given a pair of scrubs to wear for your exam. You will be given a locker to store your clothes, and anything else you may have with you during your exam.
- You will lie on a cushioned table and the skin over your joint will be cleaned and then numbed with a local anesthetic.
- Using a form of live X-ray called fluoroscopy for guidance, a thin needle will be used to inject contrast into the area thought to be causing your pain. This may cause a minor pressure sensation or brief discomfort.
- You will then be brought to a room where imaging will be performed. Depending on your exam, this may be MRI, CT or X-ray.
- When your procedure is complete, you’ll be escorted back to the changing room so you can change out of the scrubs and back into your clothing.
- Once you have changed, your appointment is complete. You do not need to check out with the front desk when you leave.
- You may experience some mild soreness at the injection site. Please call your provider’s office if you have any concerns.
- After the exam, your images will be sent electronically to one of our radiologists. This radiologist will review the information and send a report to your referring provider, typically within one to two business days.
- You should follow up with your referring provider to discuss your results.