An arthrogram is an image or series of images taken of the internal tissues and structures of the body. During the arthorgram, a contrast medium is injected into the area to be studied, and then one of several standard imaging techniques (X-ray, CT, MRI, etc.) is used to capture images of the contrast medium and surrounding structures.

Arthrograms are made when traditional X-rays of a symptomatic joint do not provide enough information for the physician to believe that he or she can make the best possible diagnosis. An example of its use would be when an injury to soft tissues, such as ligaments or tendons, is suspected, as these structures do not show up in standard X-rays.

Understanding the Arthrogram Procedure

A local anesthetic is administered to the area of a joint. A needle is then used to inject the contrast material. X-rays may be taken both before and after the contrast is administered. Depending on the type of contrast material used, the dye may be drawn out by a needle once the X-rays are taken or left to be absorbed by the body. The procedure usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes.

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