An arthrogram is a procedure in which a radiologist, using x-ray guidance (fluoroscopy), injects a contrast solution directly into a joint. The contrast, which is an iodine and a gadolinium (used in some MRIs) solution, enhances the visualization of joint structures and improves the evaluation of joint abnormalities. An arthrogram may be performed on most joints, including shoulders, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, and ankles. Arthrograms can be done as a stand-alone test, but most are done in conjunction with an MRI or CT exam.
Arthrograms are ordered to determine:
- The cause of unexplained joint pain (in most cases, after surgery)
- Whether scar tissue has developed after surgery
- If there is an injury to structures inside the joint
- If lesions are hidden within the joint
- If there is a need for a joint replacement or if there are problems with an existing joint replacement (prostheses)
The equipment used to perform an arthrogram includes a fluoroscope (c-arm), a radiographic table and two television-like monitors. The fluoroscope is a fluorescent x-ray device, which transmits moving images of a joint in real-time. The images from the fluoroscope provide the radiologist with a clear view of the joint, ensuring that the radiologist reaches the joint space and that the contrast material is injected into the right area.
NSI performs MR arthrograms at our Orlando, Melbourne, and Merritt Island locations. For patients who cannot have MRIs, NSI performs CT arthrograms at our Orlando and Merritt Island facilities. Our scheduling staff will work hard to provide you with a convenient date and time. Once scheduled, you will be asked to arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam to complete documents associated with your exam. For patients having MRIs, it is extremely important that you remove all jewelry, watches, wallets, purses, keys, phones, hairpins, credit/debit cards, and any other metallic object before your exam. These items may affect the quality of the images produced. When placed within the magnetic field, these items may be damaged and can cause harm or discomfort to you.
- If you are having an exam with contrast, you will be asked to fast for up to 4 hours prior to your exam.
- Some exams require you to drink an oral contrast just prior to the test. This prep can only be obtained from our facilities. You will be required to pick this prep up at least 2 hours prior to your exam and instructions will be given as to what time to drink each bottle.
- Please bring your exam prescription (if your doctor prescribed one) along with your insurance card and a photo ID.
- Be sure to bring any related or prior scans and films that were NOT performed at NSI.
- Please bring a method of payment for your co-pay or deductible, if applicable.