ARTHROGRAM

Arthrogram (or Arthrography) is an advanced imaging exam that is used to evaluate joints and aid in the diagnosis of joint conditions and pain, when standard X-Ray images are unable to provide the detail needed. Most commonly, this test is used to detect problems with ligaments, tendons and cartilage of the knee, shoulder, ankle, elbow, wrist and hip. 


Using X-Ray technology as a guide, contrast material is injected directly into the joint, enabling extremely detailed MR or CT images to be captured of the smallest internal structures. The decision of whether to use Magnetic Resonance (MR) or Computed Tomography (CT) imaging is based on the body part, symptoms, and any existing medical conditions of the patient.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR AN ARTHROGRAM

Before you schedule your Arthrogram, let your physician know if any of the following apply to you:

•    Have asthma or allergies to food, medicine, latex, tape, or had previous reaction to MRI contrast (gadolinium) or CT contrast (iodine), barium

•    Have health problems, such as kidney disease, hypertension or diabetes

•    Have bleeding disorders

•    Are taking medications or supplements

•    Have recently had surgery or experienced trauma or injury

•    Are experiencing pain or other symptoms

•    Are being treated for any other medical problem, including on dialysis

•    Have ever been diagnosed with cancer

•    Have had any other diagnostic tests for this condition

•    Are pregnant or if you are experiencing a late or missed menstrual cycle

•    Have claustrophobia or anxiety

•    Have breathing problems or motion disorder

•    Have tattoos

•    Have metal-based devices implanted

In most cases Arthrograms followed by an MRI  scan or CT scan can be safely and accurately performed on patients with metal-based implants. However, in certain instances, MRI scans can cause serious harm or result in distorted images. If you are going to have an MRI scan following your Arthrogram, let your physician know if you have:

•    Cardiac defibrillator or pacemaker

•    Aneurysm clips

•    Artificial heart valves

•    Artificial limbs or metal joints or limbs

•    Body piercings

•    Braces, dentures, dental plate, fillings or other dental work

•    Brain or nerve stimulators

•    Cochlear implants

•    Coils, pins, plates, screws, stents or surgical staples

•    Drug infusion ports or pumps

•    Hearing aid

•    Insulin pump

•    Internal electrodes or wires

•    Intrauterine device

•    Metal fragments, such as bullet or shrapnel or worked as a welder, machinist, grinder, or worked with metal without eye protection

•    Tattoos, tattooed eye/lip liner or body piercings 

•    Trans-dermal medication skin patches

If needed, an x-ray may be taken to identify the presence of metal objects. If it is determined there is an issue, your physician may choose another imaging procedure for you.

To read more about your specific imaging procedure, select the appropriate link:

1.5T Highfield MRI scan - How to Prepare  >

Open MRI scan - How to Prepare  >

64-Slice CT scan - How to Prepare  >

 

 
 

AFTER SCHEDULING AN ARTHROGRAM

After you schedule your arthrogram, be sure to fill out your forms on the Patient Portal any time before you arrive at your appointment. 

PATIENT PORTAL >

PATIENT PORTAL INSTRUCTIONS >

Note: Using a Lakeside-assigned SID number to complete your forms while at the facility does not set up a patient account. Please to set up your account and complete your forms beforehand to access your medical information in the future.   

THE DAY OF AN ARTHROGRAM

On the day of the Arthrogram, you may be instructed to refrain from eating, drinking or taking medications a few hours before your exam. Wear loose clothing without snaps or other metal fasteners. You may, however, be asked to wear a gown during the test.

 

Before you do the exam, you typically will be asked to remove items that may affect imaging, such as:

•    Body piercings

•    Cell phone

•    Coins

•    Cosmetics that contain metal particles, including magnetic eye lashes

•    Credit cards

•    Dentures and other removable dental work

•    Eyeglasses

•    Hairpins

•    Hearing aids

•    Jewelry

•    Keys

•    Pens

•    Pocket knife

•    Tracking devices

•    Underwire bra

•    Watch

•    Wig

If your physician has included medication for claustrophobia or anxiety in the physician’s orders, you will be administered a sedative, at a separate charge, to help you relax prior to the exam. If you expect to be sedated, do not eat 6 hours prior to the exam and have a driver with you for your release. However, most patients do not require sedation for an MRI scan and rarely for a CT scan.

 
 

WHAT TO EXPECT

WHEN HAVING AN ARTHROGRAM

Before the Arthrogram Begins

The Arthrogram technologist will position the patient on the table with the area to be imaged between the X-Ray arm and the X-Ray plate. Since you have to remain still during the exam, the technologist may use bolsters to help you hold your position and will provide pillows for comfort. Body parts that are not being imaged may be covered with a lead apron to avoid exposure to the rays.

 

Typically, the patient is in the room with the doctor and assistant for the injection. However, a patient may have a screened adult with them. The guest will be required to wear a lead apron.

 

Before beginning imaging, the technologist will explain the process, including instructions that you will receive during the injection part of the test, and answer any questions you may have.

During the Arthrogram - Contrast Injection

The Arthrogram technologist will position the patient on the table with the area to be imaged between the X-Ray arm and the X-Ray plate. Since you have to remain still during the exam, the technologist may use bolsters to help you hold your position and will provide pillows for comfort. Body parts that are not being imaged may be covered with a lead apron to avoid exposure to the rays.

 

Typically, the patient is in the room with the doctor and assistant for the injection. However, a patient may have a screened adult with them. The guest will be required to wear a lead apron.

 

Before beginning imaging, the technologist will explain the process, including instructions that you will receive during the injection part of the test, and answer any questions you may have.

During the Arthrogram - Scan

Since, MRI scans and CT scans are quite different, please click on the link that corresponds to the imaging test you have been prescribed for detailed information about your procedure.

1.5T Highfield MRI - What to Expect

Open MRI - What to Expect

CT 64-Slice - What to Expect

After the Arthrogram

After the scan, the technologist will review the images to see if any additional pictures are required. Once satisfied with the images, the patient will be released. 

 

If you did not require sedation, there is no recovery period. You may resume your normal activities and diet. However, if the patient was given sedation, they will be released to their driver.    

 

Some physicians prefer that you bring a CD of the images  to your follow up appointment; however, most often, images are electronically sent to the radiologist for review and then the report is sent directly to your referring physician. Patients are asked to make a follow-up appointment with their doctor to discuss the results. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

ABOUT ARTHROGRAMS

What is an X-Ray?

X-Ray (or Radiography) is a fast, painless, noninvasive medical scan that uses electromagnetic energy beams of radiation to produce detailed images of organs, tissues, bones, and other internal body structures. X-Rays are the oldest and most frequently used method of medical imaging. Mammograms, CT scans and dental imaging are some other common types of X-Rays.


As the rays pass through the body, different parts allow different amounts of the beams to absorb depending on the density of the material. The softer the tissue (such as blood, muscle, and fat), the darker gray the color on the image. The denser the material (such as bones and metal), the whiter it is on the image. This is how a physician can identify a break or fracture in a bone. As the beam passes through the broken or fractured area, it appears as a dark line in an otherwise white bone. It is this common understanding of which internal structures should be dark versus which should be light that alerts physicians to quickly identify potential medical conditions.​

 

Read more about X-Rays here:

Digital X-Ray  >

What is an MRI scan?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a noninvasive, painless medical scan that uses a magnetic field and radio waves to produce detailed images of organs, tissues, bones, joints and systems in the body. These high-resolution images are used by physicians to diagnose and treat medical conditions without the use of radiation, such as x-rays. 

 

For more information about your particular imaging test, please select the appropriate link:

 

1.5T Highfield MRI  >

Open MRI  >

What is a CT scan?

Computed tomography (CT or CAT) is a fast, painless, noninvasive medical scan that combines a series of advanced x-ray images to produce detailed, cross-sectional slices (images) of internal organs, tissues, bones, blood vessels and overall systems in the body. These high-resolution 2D images are reformatted in multiple planes to view the scanned area from all angles. With the 64-slice CT scanner, the reformat generates incredibly sharp 3D images to provide physicians the extreme detail needed to diagnose and treat medical conditions quickly and accurately.

 

​Read more about CT scans here:

CT 64-Slice  >

How long does an Arthrogram take?

Depending on the diagnostic test (MRI vs. CT) that follows the injection and areas being imaged, the total amount of time for an Arthrogram could take between 45 minutes to over 1 ½ hours.

Can I get an Arthrogram if I am pregnant?

It is not recommended that pregnant patients get an Arthrogram, as contrast dye and radiation is used for the test. Tell your physician if you are pregnant before scheduling your Arthrogram. They may recommend an Ultrasound, instead.

Can I get an Arthrogram if I have braces or fillings?

Yes; however, depending on the area to be scanned, the metal may distort the images. Discuss this with your physician before making your appointment. 

What are the side effects from an Arthrogram?

After an Arthrogram, the patient may have soreness and swelling around the joint and might be advised to apply ice to the area and rest it for a few hours. You can also ask your doctor for a pain reliever recommendation for soreness. Clicking and cracking noises are also common for a few days after the procedure.

 

An allergic reaction to the contrast dye is possible, although rare with direct injection into a joint. Side effects may include hives, itching, sneezing, dizziness or upset stomach.

 

If you experience any of the following, tell your referring physician:

  • Fever

  • Redness, swelling, or soreness beyond the first few days

  • Bleeding, drainage, or increased pain from the injection site

 

Depending on whether the patient had an MRI or CT imaging exam, there may be other potential side effects as noted.

1.5T Highfield MRI scan - Side Effects

Open MRI scan- Side Effects

64-Slice CT scan - Side Effects

Is the amount of radiation used in an X-Ray dangerous?

The amount of radiation received from an X-Ray is very small and can be compared to the amount you are naturally exposed to from the environment over the course of a few weeks. In addition, the patient may be asked to wear a lead apron protect other areas from exposure.

 

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WHAT PEOPLE SAY

 

ROGER D.

Very well run facility. Very professional. Clean, comfortable and easy peazy. Highly recommend.

AMY JO O.

WOW!! What a wonderful experience I had here at Lakeside! From the appointment scheduling, the timeliness of getting me back to the room for my ultrasound... what a pleasant and positive experience!! Thank you so much!!

GLEN R.

Great place to get imaging done. From IV to patients care, wonderful experience for us.

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