An arthrogram (or arthrography) is a commonly performed procedure in musculoskeletal radiology, which can refer to both an injection into a joint, and cross-sectional imaging after a joint is injected.


Arthrograms are performed for a variety of indications including:

  • labral tear after shoulder dislocation
  • hip labral tears
  • partial-thickness tendon tears
  • partial-thickness ligament tears
  • hand ligament tears
  • retear of repaired tendon
  • retear of repaired meniscus 
  • pain relief
  • surgical planning

Arthrogram injections

Three main categories of injections are performed:

  • MR arthrogram
    • a detailed assessment of intra-articular structures
    • provides excellent soft-tissue contrast and edema patterns
    • in older patients may not be necessary as labral tears and arthropathy are common
  • CT arthrogram
    • can give a detailed assessment of intra-articular structures
    • an alternative in those who can not have an MRI
    • involves radiation and soft tissue contrast less than MRI
  • anesthetic arthrogram
    • performed for therapeutic and/or diagnostic reasons
    • provide image-guided intra-articular injections
    • excess use of corticosteroid and local anesthetics could cause chondral loss
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