Intra-articular joint injections are a form of arthrography — an X-ray that looks at joint spaces (where two bones meet) in the body. During the exam, we put a long, thin needle into a joint with the assistance of fluoroscopy, a type of “live” X-ray.
The needle injects saline and a special dye into the joint before an MRI scan is done. MRI, which stands for magnetic resonance imaging, uses magnets and radio waves to get pictures of the inside of the body.
Cortisone or steroid shots may be used to help with any pain. If your doctor thinks you have an infection, the same approach will be used to draw the fluid out of the joints.
About the procedure
We'll bring you into the exam room and ask you to sit or lie on an exam table. The radiologist will mark the area where the injection will be given, clean it with antiseptic solution and numb it with a local anesthetic.
A needle will then be inserted into the joint using fluoroscopy. This makes sure the needle is in the correct place before the dye or steroids are injected. Once the exam is done, we'll remove the needle and bandage the area. If a joint aspiration is needed, the doctor will take a fluid sample from the joint to send to our lab for testing.
When you contact us to schedule your exam, please tell us if you’re taking any blood thinners, such as Coumadin®, warfarin, Plavix® or aspirin. You may be asked to stop taking medications up to three days before the exam.
Talk to your doctor before you stop taking any medications. We may also ask you to have a lab test done right before your exam to make sure your blood is not too thin.
Also, please let us know if you're pregnant or may be pregnant.
A report will be sent to your primary doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Your doctor will give you the results. After you talk to your doctor, the results are also available on MyChart.OR