arthrography

Important Things to Know About Arthrography

An MRI Arthrogram study is used to get a detailed image after a contrast material has been injected into your affected joint. The resulting image shows the soft tissue structures of your joint to find the cause of ongoing, unexplained joint pain, swelling or abnormal movement. It may be done alone or as part of other tests, such as MRI or CT.

Arthrography can help identify abnormalities within the:

  • Shoulder
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • Ankle

Patient Preparation

Contrast is injected into the joint under a local anesthetic to enhance the image and help diagnose cartilage tears and other injuries. Arthrogram contrast material is absorbed and leaves the body within a few hours of injection.

Please take note of the following:

  • Rarely, an allergic reaction from the contrast material may occur. Inform your technologist prior to the exam if you have any known allergy to iodine or X-ray dye.
  • Minor complications such as discomfort, bleeding/bruising, or swelling may occur for a day or two after the arthrogram. You may treat the pain with Advil or Tylenol. Ice packs for the first 24 hours may be helpful (3-4 times up to fifteen minutes each time). The following day, use heat, if necessary (4 times a day for twenty minutes each time).
  • Infection of the joint is a rare complication that requires treatment with antibiotics. If you have pain, swelling, red skin or fever three or more days after the arthrogram, contact the imaging center immediately.

After the procedure, you may resume normal daily activities except athletics, which should be avoided for 24 hours. Athletes should consult their coach or trainer prior to resuming practice.