An arthrogram is an x-ray test that uses contrast material to examine a joint. The contrast material is administered directly into the joint space. By use of the contrast material, the physician can see the soft tissue structure of the affected joint, such as tendons, ligaments, muscles, cartilage, and the joint capsule. Arthrograms can uncover the cause of persistent pain, swelling, or abnormal movement within a joint. An MRI or CT-Scan typically follows, depending on what the physician thinks is necessary.
The preparation for an arthrogram is similar to the preparation for an x-ray. Since the focus area will always be a joint in an arthrogram, dietary restrictions are highly unlikely. You may be asked to change into a gown for your arthrogram. The difference between this and an x-ray is the guarantee of contrast material, which is likely to cause some minor pain or discomfort. An MRI or CT-Scan typically follows, depending on what the physician thinks is necessary.