What is arthrography?

Arthrography is the x-ray examination of a joint space. During arthrography, a contrast material is injected to enable the radiologist to study the joint space that appears on the x-ray image.

Body sites often studied by the various types of arthrograms include the wrist, ankle, shoulder, and hip. 

Before the test

No changes in your routine activity, diet, or medications are necessary before the test.

On the day of the test

  • Please do not bring valuables such as jewelry or credit cards.
  • Be sure to tell your physician if you are or think you may be pregnant.
  • Please notify the technologist if you have an insulin pump.
  • The test is performed and the results are reviewed by registered, specially trained technologists and radiologists.
  • You may be asked to wear a hospital gown.

During the test

  • Preliminary x-rays are taken by a technologist.
  • The skin around the joint to be examined is cleaned with an antiseptic solution.
  • The skin and tissue around the joint are numbed with a local anesthetic (pain- relieving medication).
  • The radiologist injects the contrast material into the joint space and moves the joint to help distribute the contrast material.
  • The joint space is examined with a fluoroscope and x-rays are taken.
  • A small amount of fluid from the joint space may be collected for laboratory analysis.
  • Additional x-rays are taken by the technologist.

After the test

  • Generally, you can resume your usual activities immediately.
  • The results of your arthrography test should be available to your physician within 24 hours after the test, Monday through Friday.
  • Your physician will discuss the test results with you.


© Copyright 1995-2017 The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 11/10/2014...#11537