Special Procedures – Arthrography

Arthrography is a technique where a needle is placed into a joint and medications or contrast is delivered. It is done using x-ray guidance with a fluoroscope by our musculoskeletal radiologists. Before a needle is placed into the joint, the overlying skin will be cleaned thoroughly, much like a surgeon prepares the skin surface before surgery. Subsequently, anesthetic is placed under the skin to help numb the area prior to placing the actual needle into the joint. Arthrography may be performed to help deliver medication such as steroids and anesthetic for local pain relief from arthritis. It may also help your doctor with pinpointing pain that is difficult to localize, but may be related to a joint. In this manner, arthrography is may be used both for diagnosis and therapy. Another role for arthrography is to obtain fluid from a joint, particularly if your doctor is concerned about a joint infection. Finally arthrography may be used in conjunction with CT or MRI to allow an even more detailed assessment of the inside of a joint than can be seen without arthrography. Prior to your CT or MRI, contrast is administered directly into the joint.

Why Come to UCSD? 

Our arthrograms are performed by our experienced musculoskeletal radiologists. Although some physicians may perform these procedures at the bedside in the office, the use of x-rays ensures that the joint is accurately and safely accessed under imaging guidance.

What Procedures Do We Offer? 

X-ray arthrography, CT arthrography, MR arthrography.

How to Prepare For Your Exam? 

No preparation is required, but alert your doctor if you are allergic to contrast agents used for CT or MRI, or if you have any implantable devices which are not MRI compatible including cardiac pacemakers. If you are having a steroid and anesthetic injection, it may be helpful to keep a log of your pain before and after the procedure, so that your doctor may have a better idea of how to manage your pain. Please check with your doctor before hand to review your allergies, medications, and medical conditions. If you are on any blood thinners or have any bleeding disorders, please discuss these with your physician beforehand. The risks of arthrography are very low, however complications include but are not limited to: bleeding, infection, nerve and vessel damage, and allergic reactions. After your arthrogram, you should expect to have some soreness at the injection site for several days and up to a week. If you are having any symptoms after your procedure including increasing pain, swelling or redness at the injection site, fevers, or chills, you should contact your doctor or local emergency room, as these may be signs of one of the rare complications discussed above.

Special Procedures – Biopsy

In the musculoskeletal system, biopsies are often performed to obtain samples from bone or soft tissue. Most of the time they are performed to diagnose tumors, however they may be performed in cases of suspected infections. Before any needle is placed, the overlying skin will be cleaned thoroughly, much like a surgeon prepares the skin surface before surgery. Subsequently, anesthetic is placed under the skin to help numb the area prior to placing the actual biopsy needle. Before the advent of advanced imaging techniques such as US and CT, surgeons would often have to perform more invasive open biopsies, requiring a skin incision, which carries greater risks. With imaging guidance, tissue samples may be obtained through small needles or very small incisions measuring 2-3 mm that require nothing more than a band-aid after the procedure.

Why Come to UCSD? 

Our musculoskeletal radiologists have an exquisite knowledge of musculoskeletal anatomy. Therefore they will ensure that your biopsy is done in the safest manner possible.

What Procedures Do We Offer? 

US-guided biopsy, CT-guided biopsy

How to Prepare For Your Exam? 

If you are having an image guided biopsy, please check with your doctor before hand to review your allergies, medications, medical conditions, bloodwork, and any other imaging to ensure that it is safe and appropriate to perform a biopsy. If you are on any blood thinners or have any bleeding disorders, please discuss these with your physician beforehand. The risks of biopsy are very low, however complications include but are not limited to: bleeding, infection, nerve and vessel damage, and allergic reactions. After your biopsy, you should expect to have some soreness at the site for several days and up to a week. If you are having any symptoms after your procedure including increasing pain, swelling, foul discharge or increasing redness at the biopsy site, fevers, or chills, you should contact your doctor or local emergency room, as these may be signs of one of the rare complications discussed above.

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