An arthrogram is a procedure where X-rays are taken of a joint after a contrast material (X-ray dye and air) is injected into the joint.

The contrast highlights the structures and surfaces of a joint, such as the bones, soft tissue and the sac containing the joint.

An arthrogram is used to diagnose a joint problem such as tears in ligaments, joint displacement or dislocation, or the presence of abnormal growths.

Radiation is used for this exam. Please notify your doctor of you are pregnant. Also notify your doctor if you are allergic to X-ray dye.

Before Your Procedure

  • You must be off Coumadin for 3 days. Resume your Coumadin the day after the procedure.
  • You may continue to take your other medications including pain medication.

During Your Procedure

  • Your skin will be cleaned and then numbed.
  • A needle is then inserted into the joint.
  • Joint fluid may be removed for lab analysis.
  • Contrast material is then injected into the joint and you will be asked to move your joint around to distribute the contrast. You may feel fullness in your joint as the contrast is injected.
  • A series of X-rays are taken as your joint is moved through its entire range of motion.
  • Occasionally the doctor will order a CAT scan or MRI after the arthrogram to better visualize the joint.
  • The procedure usually takes less than 1 hour to complete.

After Your Procedure

  • You may resume your normal activities as tolerated. Your joint may be stiff for a day or two, until the injected material has re-absorbed.
  • Notify your doctor of any signs of infection at the injection site such as fever, redness, swelling or drainage.
  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

Providing safe, quality patient care is our highest priority. To help ensure quality and safety, we ask that you do not bring young children with you to your appointments, as children are not allowed to accompany you during Imaging procedures. Staff is unable to monitor your child in your absence.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider.

Back to Imaging Patient Instructions

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO