In the examination room, you are positioned on a table to examine the affected joint. Simple x-ray images of your joint are obtained to compare with the arthrograms.
Next, the skin around your joint is cleansed with antiseptic, and a local anaesthetic may be injected into the area around the joint. A needle with an aspiration syringe is then inserted into the joint space. The radiologist will use the syringe to drain the joint fluid, which may be sent to a laboratory for analysis. Next, the aspirating syringe is replaced with one containing contrast material. If the fluoroscopic examination shows correct needle placement, the contrast material and air are injected into the joint space. After the injection, the needle is removed and the site is rubbed with a sterile sponge and may be sealed with collodion to prevent air from escaping. You will be asked to move the affected joint to more evenly distribute the contrast material. Still images are then obtained with the joint in various positions.
The examination is usually completed within 45 to 60 minutes.