Joint arthrography is a medical imaging procedure commonly used to diagnose joint disorders, such as arthritis, ligament injuries, and cartilage tears. It involves injecting a contrast agent into the affected joint and using X-rays or other imaging technologies to visualize the inside of the joint. In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide to the joint arthrography procedure and what you can expect during the exam.
Before the procedure, your doctor may instruct you to stop taking any blood-thinning medications, such as aspirin and warfarin, and to fast for several hours. You will also be required to sign a consent form that verifies your understanding of the procedure and its potential risks.
During the injection, you will lie down on a table while the radiologist uses local anesthesia to numb the affected joint. Next, a small needle will be inserted into the joint and a small amount of contrast material will be injected. The radiologist may move the joint to distribute the contrast material evenly. After the injection, you will be asked to move the joint around to ensure that the material coats the entire joint and to help with the visualization process.
After the injection, you will be taken to the imaging room for X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. The type of imaging test used will depend on the joint being evaluated. You will be required to remain still during the imaging procedure to ensure that clear images are obtained. The radiologist may also request additional images if necessary.
After the procedure, you will need to rest and take it easy for a few hours. You may also experience mild pain, swelling, and bruising at the injection site. You can use ice packs and over-the-counter pain medications to alleviate any discomfort. Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy or other treatments depending on your diagnosis.
Joint arthrography is a safe and effective way to diagnose joint disorders. By following the preparation instructions, understanding the injection and imaging procedure, and properly managing your post-procedure recovery, you can ensure a successful exam and a faster road to recovery. If you have any concerns about the procedure, be sure to discuss them with your doctor beforehand.