An arthrogram is a series of images (often X-rays) of a joint after an injection of a contrast medium (iodine). Usually the injection will require a local anesthetic. A radiologist performs this procedure using fluoroscopy to guide the placement of the needle into the joint and injects an appropriate amount of the contrast medium. Then the specialist will obtain X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans in order to make a diagnosis.
When iodine is injected it coats the inner lining of the joint structures and appears bright white on an arthrogram, allowing radiologists to assess the function of the joint.
Uses for the Procedure
Physicians use this procedure to evaluate the function of a joint and can help determine a need for treatment. Some treatment options may be surgery or joint replacement. This procedure can also be helpful if you have unexplained joint pain.
Arthrograms are useful for many patients. Detecting abnormalities in and around joints, cartilage, ligaments, tendons and muscles can be invaluable in assessing and decreasing pain. (This procedure is not recommended for women who are pregnant.)
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