What is a CT Arthrogram?
Using Computed Tomography (CT) technology, CT Arthrography is an excellent way of imaging the internal structure of joints, including the cartilage, ligaments, joint lining and the structures around the joint, including the tendons, muscles and bones.
Prior to the CT scan being performed, an injection into the joint, of x-ray opaque contrast fluid, is required. This contrast coats the structures of the joint. CT translates x-ray attenuation through the joint into detailed cross-sectional images using sophisticated CT programs.
Why should I have this test?
Any of the above-mentioned components of a joint can be injured by trauma, infection, overuse or arthritis. CT Arthrography can show these injuries and help your doctor decide the best management.
What preparation is required?
Please let us know if you are taking any blood thinning medication (Warfrin, Dabigatran etc). You may need to have a blood clotting test before the procedure and have your medication adjusted by your Doctor. Also please advise the staff of any known allergies.
What will happen during the examination?
You will be taken into the CT scan room and joint being examined will be exposed (you may need to be changed into a gown). Your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a small needle will be placed into the joint by the doctor using CT image guidance.
Iodine contrast fluid is injected into the joint. The amount injected is determined by the size of the joint. You may feel some pressure and fullness in the joint, but it should not be painful.
One the injection has taken place, you will be asked to gently exercise to assist the contrast in coating the internal anatomy. After this you will be once again placed on the CT table and detailed CT scans will be taken of the joint. You will be required to remain very still whilst the scanning takes place.
How long does the whole procedure take?
You should allow up to 45 minutes for the whole procedure to be completed and for you to be dressed and ready to leave.
Are there any risks?
You will receive a small dose of x-ray radiation. The benefits of detecting disease are believed to outweigh any potential risks from receiving such a small dose. However, please advise the radiographer if you are, or think you may be pregnant.