There are no physical preparations necessary for this exam. If you are having an arthrogram of your knee or ankle, you may wish to wear a two-piece outfit and bring a pair of comfortable shorts to wear during the procedure.
The procedure uses a technology called digital fluoroscopy to capture both still pictures and a real time view of your joint in action. An arthrogram usually takes from 30-45 minutes to complete. If you are having an arthrogram of your shoulder, you may be asked to change into a gown. Your technologist will ask a series of questions about why you are having the exam. This background information provides very important historical reference to the radiologist who will be performing and interpreting your procedure. If there is any possibility that you are pregnant, please be sure to tell your technologist.
To begin the procedure, a preliminary film will be taken of your painful joint. A small area of skin over the joint space will be cleaned with an antiseptic. The radiologist will then use a very thin needle to inject contrast material into the joint space. This contrast is opaque to x-ray and therefore helps to demonstrate the internal structures of the joint. The needle will be taken out as soon as the injection is done and you will be asked to move the joint so the contrast can be worked around throughout all the areas. Using digital fluoroscopy, the radiologist will watch on a television-like monitor as the contrast moves within the joint space. Images will be acquired to uncover any possible injury to the joint structures.
After the Exam
Overall, you may have experienced a slight amount of pain from the needle as it entered your skin. The contrast used within the joint may give you a feeling of “tightness” or swelling, however this is temporary and should be completely gone within 1-2 days. The contrast is water-soluble and will be absorbed and flushed naturally through your urinary system.
Your films will be reviewed and interpreted by one of our staff radiologists. Any previous studies are compared against your new exam and the results are sent directly to your physician. Our goal is to provide your physician with a report within 24 hours of the examination. Having all your outside films at the time of your exam helps ensure your results within that time frame.
The actual results of your exam will be given to you by your doctor who will compare your test results against his or her own clinical findings to provide you with a clear picture of your overall health.Return to top