Also known as: arthrography, joint X-ray

What is an arthrogram?

An arthrogram is an imaging test that is used to examine a joint, such as the shoulder or knee. It involves injecting a contrast dye into the joint and is usually followed by an MRI of the joint so that small structures in the joint are better seen on imaging.

What happens during the procedure?

The procedure is performed with x-rays in the fluoroscopy room using a very small amount of radiation.

  1. The area is first numbed with lidocaine.
  2. Then using x-ray guidance a thin needle is slowly inserted into the joint space and contrast dye is injected into the joint.
  3. Then the patient is usually taken to the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and more images of the joint are obtained.

There is little to no pain with the procedure.

Is any special preparation needed?

In most cases, no special preparation is needed for arthrogram.

What are the risk factors?

Infection is the greatest concern but is very rare at our institution. Minor bleeding and allergic reaction to the contrast dye are also rare complications of an arthrogram.

Reviewed by: Dr. Rachel M Pevsner

This page was last updated on: April 06, 2021 10:20 AM

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