McLaren Health Care


During an arthrogram, an x-ray dye is injected into a joint space such as a knee or elbow to improve visualization. An orthopedic surgeon or radiologist performs the exam and it can be performed on any joint. If you are a woman of childbearing age and think you might be pregnant, tell your doctor and technologist prior to the exam.

Before the Arthrogram

Blood thinners need to be checked prior to scheduling. Please bring previous x-rays of this joint to the exam. If you do not have access to your previous x-rays, preliminary images can be performed.

During the Arthrogram

Skin is wiped with a cleaning solution. A numbing medication is injected into the skin. A needle is placed into the joint space. Needle location is checked under x-ray fluoroscope. - Once needle is correctly placed, the x-ray dye is injected into the joint space, and the needle is removed.

  • Often the joint is exercised or moved to help get the dye all around the joint area.
  • X-rays are taken of the joint.
  • Once the radiologist reviews the films, the exam is complete.

After the Arthrogram

It is possible the area may be sore. Over-the-counter analgesics may be taken for pain relief. Call your doctor if you develop excessive pain or swelling after the procedure. The radiologist sends the report to your doctor, who will discuss the results with you.


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