An arthrogram is an imaging study used to assess your joint problem. Contrast fluid is injected into the joint being studied. Then, X-ray, computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is used to create images.
Tell your healthcare provider
Be sure to tell your healthcare provider if:
You are or may be pregnant
You have any allergies
You have any bleeding problems or take blood thinners or other medicines, including aspirin
How do I get ready for an arthrogram?
Arrange for someone to drive you home.
Wear loose-fitting clothing.
What happens during the arthrogram?
X-rays of your joint are taken first.
The skin around the joint is cleaned and then covered with drapes.
The area around your joint is usually numbed with a local anesthetic.
The area around your joint is numbed.
The radiologist inserts a needle into the joint, using fluoroscopic or ultrasound guidance. A sample of joint fluid may be removed.
Contrast fluid is injected into your joint to improve the images.
X-rays are again taken.
The doctor will move your joint. You will also be asked to exercise your joint.
Additional X-rays may be taken after you exercise.
If you need a CT or MRI test, it will follow the X-rays.
What happens after an arthrogram?
Drink extra water or other clear fluids for 24 hours.
Vigorous exercise is not recommended for 24 hours after the arthrogram.
You may have swelling and discomfort in the involved joint after the procedure. You may apply ice to the joint or use an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Make a follow-up appointment to get your results.
What are the risks of arthrogram?
This procedure uses medical X-ray radiation. The amount of X-ray exposure is felt to be low and safe.
There is a small risk of pain, bleeding, or infection at the injection site.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
Contact your doctor right away if:
You have pain or swelling that doesn’t improve by 2 days after your test
You have a fever of 100.4°F (38°C) lasting 24 to 48 hours, or as directed
Or, whatever your healthcare provider told you to report based on your medical condition
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