What is an Arthrogram?

Feb 22, 2016

An arthrogram uses imaging equipment to evaluate a joint like the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee or ankle. It is a two-part procedure consisting of a contrast injection into the joint, followed by an MRI or CT scan of the joint. 

An arthrogram is ordered to:

  • Find tears, degeneration or disease in the cartilage, ligament or tendon
  • Detect growths or synovial cysts in the joint
  • Diagnose unexplained joint pain
  • Determine the need for treatment, including arthroscopy, surgery or joint replacement
     

First part - injection
The first part of an arthrogram uses fluoroscopy – a specialized type of x-ray equipment that images the area in real time, and displays it on a video monitor. A small needle will be placed in the joint and contrast material (i.e. x-ray dye) will be injected into the joint space. Several x-ray images will be taken using the fluoroscopy machine. Pain medications like anesthetic and/or steroids may also be injected, depending on what was ordered by the healthcare provider. The injection portion typically takes about 30 minutes.

Second part - MRI
In most cases, an MRI (or occasionally a CT scan) of the joint will be performed after the injection portion. CT can be used to better evaluate the intra-articular structures in patients who cannot have an MRI for safety reasons. MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make detailed pictures; please review our MRI metal safety checklist. The MRI will take another 30-45 minutes.


Can’t I just have an MRI? Why do I need to have an injection first?

  • An MRI arthrogram can be used to further evaluate an abnormality identified on a routine MRI. 
  • MRI arthrogram can better define some issues following surgery than a routine MRI.
  • Distention of the joint from the injected contrast material can better highlight some small structures that are close together on a routine MRI. 
  • Determining if an injury extends outside the joint can be easier with MRI arthrogram in some cases.
 

Image from a shoulder MRI arthrogram.

arthrogram.jpeg


Image from a shoulder MRI.

shoulderwocontrast.jpeg




Latest Blog Post

When It Comes To Your Healthcare, Choices Matter.Choosing an outpati…

Read More

Breast pain, which is known as mastalgia, can be frightening as pain…

Read More

Twitter Feed

  • One in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Early detection saves lives. Having an annu… https://t.co/aKUTRAhMnM
    June 29, 2020
  • March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month! Regular screenings are one of the most powerful weapons against colorec… https://t.co/JqsC83iYA6
    March 2, 2020
ACRLogo.png ACLogo.png ACLogo.png
ImageWiselyLogo.png ImageGentlyLogo.png

Privacy bottom_hairline.png Legal

new_facebook.png new_twitter.png new_linkIn.png transparent_youtube.png