What are the limitations of Conventional Arthrography?

April 20, 2010

Before examining the limitations of conventional arthrography, it is essential to understand the basics of conventional arthrography. This is a process used to evaluate an infection, trauma or injury of a joint and is done under fluoroscopic guidance. Technically speaking it is referred to as the X-ray photographic scrutiny of a joint after injection of a radio-opaque contrast substance which produces an X ray of the joint.

This x-ray examination eventually helps physicians to diagnose and treat medical conditions of the joint. With the help of ionizing radiation, pictures or arthrograms are produced of the joint as they are present inside the body. This process is also helpful in viewing and analyzing the internal organs in motion. Through the arthrography the radiologist can view and asses the internal situation and also the anatomy and function of the joint.

Even though this is the most widely used form of medical imaging, there are certain limitations of conventional arthrography, and these include:

  • Partial tears of the medical rotator might not be easily accessible and thus the rotator cuff may not get detected.
  • Some joint injuries might not get sighted; these would be the tears of the cartilage which could be located on the edges of the joints.
  • There could be internal bruises on the ligaments outside the joint which might not be easily accessible.

However all these limitations can be solved by conducting further examination such as an MRI scan.

There are however a number of remarkable uses of the conventional arthrography procedure. For instance, one can estimate the abnormalities within the shoulder, the wrist, the hip, the knee and the ankle. It is used to determine the cause of a prolonged and unexplained distress or a joint pain. The procedure has a number of benefits as well as some risks involved. A patient is advised to have all his doubts cleared before agreeing to the conventional arthrography procedure.

Some medical experts believe that there is a considerable risk of malignant tumors being formed if the patient is excessively and unnecessarily exposed to radiation from the procedure. Women, who are advised to undergo this procedure, must confirm they are not in a pregnant state. Patients who have been advised by their doctors must check with all kinds of allergies. There is also a small chance of infection; however, on the whole, the medical fraternity claims that people should consider that the graph of benefits far outweighs the number of risks.

The costs of conventional arthrography may vary depending upon the area. You might want to discuss all the details with your doctor as he/she is the right person to present a better understanding, regarding the fees involved and the subsequent expenses that might be incurred. Apart from the minor limitations there are not many drawbacks to this procedure, this is after all the most widely accepted and used procedure in today's times.

Submitted by M T on April 20, 2010 at 04:49

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