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Radiology (Xray)

Arthrogram Joint Injection

Contact: Freeman Hospital: (0191) 223 1012; RVI: (0191) 282 4330

What is an arthrogram?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • An arthrogram is essentially an x-ray image taken after a contrast medium (x-ray dye) has been injected into the joint.

Why do I need an arthrogram?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • An arthrogram is performed to allow injection of local anaesthetic and/ or steroid into a joint to provide pain relief.

Who performs the arthrogram/ joint injection? Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The examination will be done by a radiologist (medical doctor who specialises in interpreting diagnostic imaging).  The radiologist will explain what happens and will show you what to do.

What preparation will I need? Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Usually none. Printed instructions will be included in your appointment letter should any preparation be required.

I have diabetes. Does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • No.

What does the examination involve?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Depending on which part of the body is being examined, we may ask you to remove some of your clothing and put on a hospital gown. 
  • We will ask you to lie on a couch in a special x-ray room.
  • The radiologist doing your examination will explain the procedure.
  • After cleaning the skin with a sterilizing solution, the skin will be numbed with local anaesthetic.
  • A needle will then be inserted into the joint under x-ray guidance. 
  • Needle position within the joint will be confirmed by injecting a small amount of x-ray dye. 
  • Once position has been confirmed, local anaesthetic and/or steroid will be injected into the joint.
  • At the end of the test the needle will be removed. 
  • Depending on the reason for the injection, you may be given a form to score your pain following the injection. The radiologist will explain how you should complete this form.

How long will it take?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The examination usually takes about 30 minutes.

How does it feel?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • You may feel some pushing as the needle goes in and it will feel heavy/tight as the medication is injected. We may ask you to wait for a short time following the injection to make sure that you do not have a reaction to the medication used.

What are the benefits of having an arthrogram/joint injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • It may help to establish the diagnosis if we are uncertain whether the joint is the source of pain, but the steroid will also offer therapeutic benefits if injected with the local anaesthetic.

What are the risks of having an arthrogram/ joint injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • There is an extremely low risk of infection or allergy.

Are there any side effects?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Usually none, but this depends on the site of injection.  Any possible side effects will be fully explained to you.

When will I notice a result from the injection?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The local anaesthetic injected may give immediate pain relief and can last for up to 24 hours. The steroid can take several days to take effect and maximum effect from the injection can take up to ten days. A report will be prepared and this is sent to your doctor who asked for the examination within two weeks of the examination.

Can I drive home?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • We advise you do not drive for 24 hours after a joint injection and you should make alternative travel arrangements.

I need an ambulance/ transport. Do you arrange it?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • No.  If you need an ambulance/ transport, you should ask your GP Surgery to arrange it. You will need to give them three working days’ notice.  Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment? Show [+]Hide [-]

  • If your appointment time is not convenient please contact the hospital department as soon as possible so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will also enable us to reallocate valuable injection slots to someone else:
  • RVI X-ray Appointments               0191 282 4330 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman X-ray Appointments      0191 223 1012 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)

What if I have any questions, suggestions or complaints?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Should you have any suggestions or concerns, please make these known to the person conducting your examination or by letter addressed to the hospital that you are attending your examination:
  • The Departmental Manager, X-ray Department, Level 3, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP
  • The Departmental Manager, Main X-ray Department, Freeman Hospital, High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7DN
  • Tel: 0191 282 1099
  • Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm
  • All Newcastle Hospitals: Switchboard tel: 0191 233 6161 (24 hours)
  • The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS. You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email
  • Information produced by:
  • Dr A Karsandas, Consultant Radiologist.

Diagnostic Imaging DatasetShow [+]Hide [-]

  • Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. 
  • The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.
  • Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you.  All information is stored securely. It is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.
  • You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:
  • Telephone: 0845 300 6016 
  • Email: 
  • Website:
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