In our Humble and Houston radiology facilities, we perform several forms of diagnostic imaging. When closer observation of a joint is necessary, arthrography may be the most appropriate type of exam.
What Is an Arthrogram?
An arthrogram is a method of medical imaging in which we observe a joint through live X-Ray “Flouroscopy”. Imaging involves contrast media that facilitates the examination of structures that may not be accurately portrayed on a standard x-ray.
Reasons for an Arthography
Arthrograms help physicians understand the underlying cause of joint pain. Some of the common uses of an Arthrogram include:
- Identify disease, deterioration, or tears in cartilage, ligaments, bones, or the capsule of a joint.
- Observe the rotator cuff in the shoulder for damage such as a tear.
- Evaluation for fluid-filled cysts or other abnormal growths.
- Confirmation of proper needle placement for joint fluid analysis, or prior to injection therapy for joint pain.
What Areas May Be Observed Using Arthrography?
An arthrogram may observe the joint structure of the:
We use contrast material for Arthrograms in order to project a clear visual image of the joint structure in real time.
To complete the Arthrogram:
- The patient sits or lies down on an exam table.
- The doctor cleans the patient’s skin and drapes it with a sterile cloth
- We administer a local anesthetic to numb the joint area.
- The doctor introduces a dye into the joint structure.
- We may ask the patient to move the joint in order to disperse contrast material.
- The doctor then holds the joint very still while imaging is ongoing.
- In some cases, we may ask the patient to move through the full range of motion for extensive visualization of the joint.
- Once the arthrogram is complete, the patient will have an MRI or CT performed immediately afterward.
Does an Arthrogram Hurt?
We do everything that we can to make imaging a comfortable experience for each patient.
During an Arthrogram, a patient may feel a slight sting when the doctor injects the anesthetic just beneath the skin.
When contrast material enters the joint, a sensation of fullness, discomfort, tingling, or pressure may occur. After the doctor administers the contrast media, some patients also notice a slight salty or metallic taste for a few moments.
It is necessary to hold very still during parts of the arthrography exam. This is usually just a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. The exam may take 10-30 minutes.
Images obtained during the arthrogram are reviewed by one of our radiologists. Following the exam, we prepare a full report and forward it to the referring physician within a few days.
GO Imaging facilities are fully accredited by the American College of Radiology. Our board-certified radiologists and ARRT-certified radiology technologists offer exemplary service to patients and their referring physicians.