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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:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other medicine before your procedure.
  • Your healthcare provider will check the area around your joint for any signs of infection. Tell him if you have joint disease or if you have had a joint infection.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you have metal in your body from a past surgery. You cannot have an MRI if you have metal in your body. Also tell your healthcare provider if you have trouble being in tight, closed spaces.
  • You may need to have blood tests done to check your kidney function before your procedure. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about this and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The day of your procedure:

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • You may be given a shot of anesthesia medicine to numb the area around your joint. A long, thin needle will be 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. 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. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says you can. Your healthcare providers will tell you when you can go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken back to your room.


  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have new numbness in your arm or leg that has the joint problem.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • Your joint is very painful, red, or swollen.
  • You have no feeling in your arm or leg that has the joint problem.


  • 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.

Care Agreement

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.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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 (Precare)

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