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An arthrogram is an x-ray of a joint. Dye is injected to help healthcare providers see your joint clearly. Tell healthcare providers if you are allergic to iodine or shellfish. You may also be allergic to the dye.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Pre-op care: Pillows may be placed under your joint that will be x-rayed for support.
  • Local anesthesia: This is a shot of numbing medicine put into your skin in the area where your procedure will be done. You may still feel pressure or pushing during your procedure.

During your procedure:

  • After your joint area is numbed, a long, thin needle is put into your joint space. Your healthcare provider may use x-ray to guide him when he inserts the needle. Joint fluid may be removed. A small amount of contrast dye is injected into your joint. The dye will help your healthcare provider see that he is in the right area. Once the needle is in the right area of your joint space, more dye will be injected. Medicine to help keep the dye in your joint space without spreading to other tissues may also be given.
  • After the dye is given into your joint space, the needle is removed. You may be asked to move your joint around to help the dye coat your whole joint. Fluoroscopic x-rays may then be taken. You may also need an MRI or CT. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell healthcare providers if you have any metal in or on your body. You will need to stay very still while the pictures are being taken of your joint.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest after your procedure. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says you can. Your healthcare provider will tell you when you can go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken back to your room.


  • You may have a burning feeling in your skin when the shot of anesthesia medicine is given. During or after your procedure, you may feel weak and faint. The shot may create air bubbles that move into your blood vessels and cause problems breathing. You may have pain, redness, and swelling in the area where your shots were given. Your joint may also become swollen and painful.
  • You may lose feeling in your arm or leg for a short time after the shot is given. Muscles or tendons may be injured, and you may bleed. You may also get a skin or joint infection after your procedure. You may be at an increased risk for blood clots. The contrast dye may cause an allergic reaction, seizures, or kidney damage. Without this procedure, your joint problem or pain may worsen.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Arthrogram (Inpatient Care)

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