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Joint Services

A Better Joint Services Experience

Convenience is important so we offer joint procedures, using fluoroscopy, at our center so patients can choose an appointment that works best for them. The cost of a fluoroscopy exam at Spectrum Medical Imaging is substantially lower than the cost of the same exam performed at a hospital. We believe that offering value, without compromise, is the right thing to do.

What are Joint services?

Joint services consist of two types of procedures involving major joints: Arthrograms and Therapeutic steroid injections.


An arthrogram (also known as arthrography) is a diagnostic imaging procedure that helps doctors visualize the bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons within a joint. Most arthrograms use a contrast agent to highlight abnormalities in the joint. Arthrograms are especially useful for determining the cause of unexplained joint pain or trouble moving the joint.

Therapeutic steroid injections

A steroid joint injection is a procedure to inject steroid medicine into a joint. Steroid medicine decreases pain and inflammation. The injection may also contain an anesthetic (numbing medicine) to decrease pain. It may be done to treat conditions such as arthritis and gout.

What you should know

Answers to frequently asked questions.

Some joints, such as the hip and shoulder, are complex structures making accurate diagnoses more difficult. To better visualize the entire joint structure, your doctor may order an “arthrogram” with an MRI or CT to follow. The arthrogram uses live-action X-ray to inject contrast dye directly into the joint. The injection is performed by a radiologist under a local anesthetic. The injection may be slightly painful and you may feel pressure in the joint as the injection is performed. The radiologist and technologist will take steps to make you comfortable. The MRI or CT will be performed directly after the arthrogram is performed so the injected dye will be visible providing more clarity to the structures in the joint.

Therapeutic joint injections are minimally invasive injections of a long-lasting steroid to relieve the discomfort caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, gout, and tendonitis. The joint injections provide direct treatment to the affected area, which offers more centralized relief and little to no side effects.

A joint aspiration is performed to remove a large collection of fluid surrounding a joint. Sometimes bursitis (inflammation of the bursa) causes fluid to collect near a joint. Removing the fluid will decrease the pressure, relieve pain, and improve movement of the joint. During the procedure a local anesthetic may be used, which could cause a brief stinging sensation. The radiologist will insert the needle through the skin into the joint removing fluid by drawing it into a syringe that is attached to the needle.

  • Arthrogram and therapeutic steroid injections typically take a total of about 30 minutes.
  • Depending on the joint being examined, you may be asked to change into a gown.
  • The area to be injected is cleansed with antiseptic, and a sterile drape is placed around the injection site. Using a small needle, your doctor will inject local anesthetic first.
  • Once the area is numb, a larger needle will be used to inject the contrast material. In some cases, joint fluid is removed with a needle prior to injection.
  • The radiologist will visualize the joint using Computed Tomography (CT).
  • Medication, such as steroids, may be injected into the joint during the exam for treatment purposes.
  • You may have soreness, swelling, or a feeling of fullness around your joint after the procedure. Do not overuse or stress the joint directly for a few days after the arthrogram, and use ice application to help with any swelling or discomfort.

Prep for your exam

If you have an appointment scheduled, please click here to pre-register, complete forms and review exam preparation instructions. If you have any questions about your visit, please contact Spectrum Medical Imaging at 303-558-1755.