When you begin experiencing joint pain, your doctor may send you to an experienced Radiologist like Sim Hoffman, to have an arthrogram performed. An arthrogram is a diagnostic test that examines the inside of your joint to find out what kind of injury you have, or to verify a symptom you may be experiencing. An outline of the soft tissue structures in the joint is obtained by injecting a contrast medium into the area. This makes them clearer to see on the pictures that are taken of the joint.
Moving images are transmitted onto a screen using fluoroscopy. This helps guide the placement of the needle that contains the contrast medium. This helps the affected area show up better on an MRI or CT scan. Usually, before an arthrogram is performed, you should already have had x-ray images made of the joint. You may also have images from an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI that you need to provide your doctor.
The arthrogram usually only takes about fifteen minutes to perform. However, it may be a short wait until you can have the MRI or CT scan performed. Once you are taken back for the scan, you can expect to be in the MRI machine for approximately thirty to forty-five minutes, and the CT machine for fifteen minutes.
An experienced radiologist like Sim Hoffman will be responsible for injecting the contrast medium into the joint, as well as ensuring that the right scans are being performed after the injection. There also are the individuals who will analyze the scans and prepare a formal report based on the findings.