Skip to content
HOW CAN WE HELP YOU? Call 1-800-TRY-CHOP
An arthrogram is used to diagnose a problem or relieve pain in a joint, most commonly the shoulder, hip, knee, elbow or wrist.
With live X-ray (fluoroscopy) for guidance, a doctor will numb your child’s skin around the joint, then place a small needle into the joint and inject a small amount of X-ray dye to confirm that the needle is in the proper place. Then one of two things will happen.
The needle will be removed and a bandage applied. Your child will be protected by an X-ray shield during the procedure.
Some children remain awake, and we use a local numbing medicine at the site of the injection. In other cases, the child will be asleep; we use IV sedation or general anesthesia.
Your child will feel a needle prick when we inject the local numbing medicine. After the procedure, some patients experience mild discomfort, or a fullness or tightness, in the joint for several days. If your child has pain, apply a cool compress to the area or use over-the-counter pain medication.
Less than one hour.
An arthrogram is considered low-risk. However, potential complications include:
Leave the bandage in place for one day. After the bandage is removed, your child may shower or take a bath.
Your child should rest the joint for 24 hours and may not participate in strenuous activity for one week. There is an increased risk of joint dislocation for one week, so avoid activities that directly stress the joint. For instance, a child who had an arthrogram of the shoulder shouldn’t do pull-ups or play on the monkey bars, while a child who had an arthrogram of the hip should avoid hard running and jumping.