Arthrography is the x-ray examination of a joint that uses fluoroscopy and a contrast material.
When contrast is injected into the joint space, it coats the inner lining of the joint structures and appears bright white on an arthrogram, allowing the radiologist to assess the anatomy and function of the joint.
Arthrograms are particularly effective for detecting tears or lesions of the structures and ligaments of the joints, especially the knee, wrist and elbow, as well as rotator cuff tears or damage from a shoulder dislocation. They can help to determine the possible need for treatment, including surgery or joint replacement.
The procedure is most often used to identify abnormalities within the:
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant. Your doctor may decide whether to postpone the exam or use an alternative exam such as ultrasound to reduce the possible risk of exposing your baby to radiation.
Let your doctor know if you have any known allergy to x-ray dye, iodine or certain foods such as shellfish.
You will be asked to remove all jewelry, eyeglasses, and any other metal or electronic objects from your body before the exam as these objects interfere with the quality of the images.
Further preparation for your arthrogram depends on which part of your body will be examined. Generally, the portion of your body that is being examined will be undressed and you may be asked to wear a hospital gown to cover yourself during the exam. You may be also asked to wear a lead apron as a precaution to shield areas of your body not being examined from x-ray exposure.
Arthrograms typically take up to 20 minutes or more.
Our technologist will prepare and guide you by explaining the procedure, assisting in removal of jewelry and other metal objects, and positioning you to ensure the highest quality images are obtained from your exam.
You may lie on a table, stand or sit between an X-ray machine and the X-ray plate. The technologist will then direct the machine toward the body area being examined.
The technologist supervises the arthrogram from a shielded area and can always see and hear you. The technologist may ask and assist you with changing positions in order to obtain images from multiple angles.
Results are available within 24 - 48 hours.
Once the exam is complete, a physician will review the study and dictate a report. This report will be sent to the doctor who ordered your study. We recommend that you call and schedule a follow-up appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss the results.
Typically, the healthcare provider calls, faxes or submits an online request for the Arthrogram. Then we call you to confirm your appointment date and time. However, if your healthcare provider asks you to schedule your exam, simply call us or visit our Request an Appointment page. We will make sure the exam is timely and convenient and that it meets any special requirements of your insurance carrier and healthcare provider.
When you call, we will need to know which exam your healthcare provider ordered and why. We will also ask you for your insurance information. You will need to pay any co-pay or deductible at the time of the exam. We conveniently file your claim with your insurance provider.
Most of our facilities offer same-day (insurance permitting), evening and weekend appointments. Prior to your appointment, we will give you the estimated total cost, what you will owe at the time of service, and payment options. We will also fax reports and provide images to your healthcare provider.