Get an arthrogram at American Health Imaging

An arthrogram is a series of pictures that offers physicians a more detailed view than a single image. Typically used to examine shoulders, knees, and other complex joints, arthrograms may be created from multiple X-rays, MRI images, or CT images. Ultimately, this series of images helps doctors to find defects not only in bones, but in other joint structures such as tendons, ligaments, muscles and cartilage.

How It Works

It involves injecting a contrast dye (usually a combination of iodine and X-ray contrast material) into the joint space under the guidance of imaging techniques like fluoroscopy or ultrasound. The contrast dye makes the joint structures, including ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and the joint capsule, more visible on X-ray or MRI images.

Find an American Health Imaging center offering Arthrogram appointments near you!

Reasons for Arthrogram

Arthrograms are often performed when other imaging methods, such as X-rays or MRIs, do not provide sufficient information about a joint problem. The procedure helps doctors diagnose conditions such as tears in ligaments or cartilage, joint injuries, and abnormalities, allowing for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment planning. Arthrograms can be performed for various reasons, including:

  • Unexplained Joint Pain: When a patient experiences persistent joint pain or discomfort, an arthrogram can help identify the cause by providing detailed images of the joint’s interior.
  • Injury Assessment: Arthrograms are commonly used to assess joint injuries, such as ligament tears, cartilage damage, or joint dislocations. They can provide a clear view of the extent and nature of the injury.
  • Detecting Infections: Arthrograms can identify infections within the joint space, including septic arthritis, an infection that affects the joint’s synovial fluid and tissues.
  • Guiding Injections or Aspirations: Arthrograms can guide the precise placement of needles for joint injections (such as corticosteroids for pain relief) or joint aspirations (fluid removal for diagnostic purposes).
  • Evaluating Chronic Joint Conditions: For patients with chronic joint conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, arthrograms can help monitor disease progression and assess the effectiveness of treatments.
  • Evaluation Before Surgery: In cases where joint surgery is being considered, an arthrogram can provide detailed pre-surgical information, helping surgeons plan the procedure more effectively.

Patient Reviews

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Why Choose American Health Imaging

American Health Imaging (AHI) offers Arthrogram services at a cost savings of up to 60% compared to hospital-based imaging. We are in-network with 99% of insurance plans, providing you with a convenient and affordable option for diagnostic imaging. Our 45+ facilities are easily accessible, and we offer same-day appointment options to accommodate your schedule.

Arthrogram Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect during my arthrogram appointment?

Arthrograms are quick, safe and pain-free procedures. After changing into a medical gown, you’ll be escorted into an exam room. If you don’t have any prior x-rays of your affected joint, your technologist will begin by taking a “scout” x-ray.

Your technologist and radiologist will then use that initial x-ray to determine the angles, number of images and contrast dye necessary for your study.* They may also ask you questions about your medical history, particularly as it relates to recent injuries to the body part being imaged.

Once our staff has determined the course of action, you’ll receive a small injection of contrast fluid into the affected joint. Your technologist will then take several x-rays using a fluoroscope, a camera that displays the joint in real-time, much like a television screen.

How long will my arthrogram take?

Arthrograms do take longer than traditional x-rays, but your exam should be complete within approximately one hour. If your doctor has also ordered an MRI of the joint, however, you’ll need to make additional time.

How long will it take for my doctor to get the results of my arthrogram?

A radiologist will review your study as soon as the images are available, and the results will be sent to your doctor within 24 hours to a few days after your exam.*

How should I schedule my exam?

Your appointment will be scheduled ahead of time by your doctor’s office. However, if you need to cancel, reschedule or check your appointment time, you can call either your doctor’s office or the specific American Health Imaging center where you’re scheduled.

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment time, so that you can register with AHI and fill out necessary forms.

How should I prepare for my arthrogram?

A quick, noninvasive procedure, an arthrogram requires little preparation. However, it is important that you avoid eating and drinking for two hours before the test. Due to the joint discomfort some patients experience following contrast dye injections, we also recommend an accompanying driver, particularly if you’re getting an ankle arthrogram.

You should also inform your chosen AHI clinic of any allergies and previous reactions to iodine-based contrast dyes. These allergies won’t prevent you from getting an arthrogram, but they will require premedication to prevent further reaction.

Do you need to schedule a Arthrogram?

American Health Imaging offers same-day and next-day appointment options to make getting an imaging scan convenient. Get a referral from your doctor, find the American Health Imaging center closest to you, and then call to schedule an imaging appointment.