Arthrography is a type of X-Ray examination that uses a contrast agent to image an anatomical joint, such as the knee, shoulder, elbow or wrist.  An arthrogram demonstrates the structures of the joint, including cartilage, ligaments and bursa (the fluid-filled joint capsule).  A radiologist  will inject a small amount of local anesthetic (a numbing agent) into the area of interest. This may sting slightly.  Once the area is numb, the radiologist will insert a needle into the joint space and a contrast agent will be injected.  While the injection is administered, fluoroscopy will be used to take images. You may be asked to exercise your joint in order for the contrast to be evenly distributed.

On many occasions, an MRI may be used in combination with an arthrogram.  The procedure is the same as the athrogram, with the exception of the type of contrast injected into the joint space.  Gadolinium is a special type of contrast that enhances the visualization of joint structures and improves MRI evaluation of joint abnormalities.  Once the injection is complete using fluoroscopy, the patient will immediately be placed into the MRI for completion of the exam. 

Please inform your physician of any medications you are taking as well as any allergies you may have.  Also inform your physician regarding a recent illness or other medical conditions.

Women should inform their physician if they are pregnant, or if there is any possibility they may be pregnant. 

Radiation Dose: Special care is taken during X-Ray examinations to use of the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best images for evaluation.