Arthrography Benfits vs Risks

Arthrography Benefits

  • Arthrography is particularly effective for detecting tears or lesions of the structures and ligaments of the joints, especially the knee, wrist and elbow, as well as rotator cuff tears or damage from a shoulder dislocation.
  • No radiation remains in a patient's body after an x-ray.
  • X-rays usually have no side effects.

Arthrography Risks

  • There is always a slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs the risk.
  • Patients who have known allergies to iodine may have an adverse reaction to the contrast material. Because the contrast material is put in a joint and not a vein, allergic reactions are very rare, although in some cases, mild nausea to severe cardiovascular complications may result.
  • Women should always inform their physician or x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant.
  • There is a small risk of introducing an infection when a needle is placed in a joint. Your doctor will take all necessary precautions to minimize this, including the use of skin disinfectant and by using sterile needles and tubing.

Minimizing Radiation Exposure

Special care is taken to use the lowest radiation dose possible while producing the best X-ray images. At Sky Ridge, we follow national and international radiology protection council standards.

Modern-day X-ray machines have tightly controlled X-ray beams that filter the beams and control the dose of radiation. This ensures that parts of a patient's body not being imaged receive minimal radiation exposure.

Limitations of Conventional Arthrography

Partial tears of the rotator cuff may not be detected.

Some joint injuries cannot be detected during conventional arthrography including tears of the cartilage which can be found inside and along the edges of some joints, bruising of neighboring bones and injuries to ligaments outside the joint. MRI may be needed after arthrography to better evaluate these types of injuries.