A conventional arthrogram is usually used to evaluate the shoulder joint for a rotator cuff tear, or to evaluate the wrist for ligamentous tears. Conventional arthrography is the x-ray examination of a joint that uses fluoroscopy and iodinated contrast material injected into the joint space. When iodine is injected into the joint space, it coats the inner lining of the joint structures and appears bright white on an arthrogram, allowing the radiologist to assess the anatomy and function of the joint.
No special preparation is necessary before arthrography. Food and fluid intake do not need to be restricted. You should inform your physician of any medications you are taking and if you have any allergies, especially to iodinated contrast materials. You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes and to wear a gown during the exam. You may also be asked to remove jewelry, dentures, eye glasses and any metal objects or clothing that might interfere with the x-ray images.
Women should always inform their physician and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
For the contrast injection, the radiologist will explain the procedure to you, and obtain a consent for the procedure. You are positioned on the x-ray examination table in the fluoroscopy room. Next, the skin around the joint is cleansed with antiseptic and covered with a sterile drape. The skin and soft tissues are numbed by local anesthetic injected into the area. A needle is then inserted through this numbed skin into the joint space. Contrast material is injected into the joint space and the needle is removed. You will experience a slight pinprick and may feel a momentary burning from the local anesthesia used to numb the area. You may feel a fullness as the joint is filled with contrast. The radiologist will exam the joint space under fluoroscopy, and xray images will be obtained after the study.
If you have any questions or concerns about your procedure, feel free to call us at 203-453-5123 or contact us online.
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