What Is An Hip Arthrogram?

Submitted on March 27, 2012

An arthrogram is an imaging based test that is conducted on joints. An imaging device, usually an x-ray machine is used to take pictures of the joint after a dye or contrast has been injected into it. An arthrogram can be used for hip related problems caused either due to injury, old age, or joint problems.

Technique Used

It is important to know the hip arthrogram technique before you go in for your test in order that you are adequately prepared for it. When your doctor orders an arthrogram of hip, you can discuss the various aspects of the procedure. The hip arthrogram procedure will begin with a hip arthrogram injection. This injection is administered directly into your hip joint. It is used to inject the contrast substance into your joint. It may also be used to remove any fluid that may be present in the joint which can be sent for testing. You may experience some pain also referred to the hip arthrogram pain when the needle is inserted and your doctor might make you raise your leg to relieve some of the discomfort. Magnetic resonance imaging is used to form a picture of the joint. This is known as mr hip arthrogram or mri hip arthrogram. This part of the hip arthrogram procedure involves an imaging machine taking pictures of your joint with the contrast material in it to get a good idea of what is wrong inside the joint. A hip mri arthrogram can be performed with the patient lying in different angles to get a unique perspective for each shot.

An arthrogram of the hip will produce some images which your doctor will record and then discuss them with you. In these images you will see the joint and the doctor will point out any deformations or abnormalities present. An mri arthrogram of the hip is usually conducted within 30 minutes. You do not need to check in to the hospital for an mr arthrogram of the hip, it is usually conducted on an out-patient basis.

The doctor will inject an anesthetic in the area so that there is no pain with the main needle. This will cause your joint to be numb for several hours after the procedure, so it is essential to walk carefully and not exert yourself. No exercise should be done for 12 to 18 hours subsequent to your procedure. You may feel prickly sensation in your hip as the anesthetic begins to wear off. If there is pain for more than a couple of days after your procedure, visit your doctor immediately

Why Is a MRI Hip Arthrogram Performed?

An MRI hip anthrogram is performed to check for AVN, occult fractures, a labral tear, tumors in the leg and the hip (both benign and malignant), soft tissue injuries such as muscle strains, tears in the tendon and hematoma, inflammation related to arthritis, and hip pain. The arthrogram is often used to complement X-rays and radiographs. MRI hip arthrogram protocol is different for different kinds of injuries. The doctor who examines you would usually indicate which MRI hip pain protocol to use. The protocol will also vary with the equipment being used. Some of the general protocols used for getting the arthrogram include the routine screening of the hip. This is done for AVN and a non-specific pain in the hips.


There are many advantages of an MRI hip arthrogram. The most important benefit is that this diagnostic technique offers a superior contrast of the soft tissues in the legs and the hips. This technique also offers clearer, multiplanar imaging for more realistic images. There is no iodinated contrast, and therefore, a contrast dye does not need to be injected. This protocol also does not call for any exposure to radiation and is safe even for pregnant women. The technique is also extremely sensitive and is able to indicate even minor problems in the hip joint or the soft tissues. It is extremely accurate and is also very cost effective. MRI hip arthroscopy protocol provides a comprehensive examination of the hip muscles and the bone joints. It also helps indicate several different problems in the joints, thus giving a wider diagnostic scope to the doctor.

Labral Tear, Complications and CPT Code

For hip arthrogram labral tear, complications and CPT code, the dedicated unilateral hip arthrogram is used. This technique is also ideal for when you have complains of internal derangement and characterization of lesions. If there is a slight intra-articular gadolinium, MR arthrography is used. Another technique for this imaging is the surface or phased array torso coil. This is a more extensive imaging technique that involves some portions of the torso as well.

Hip arthrogram is a simple diagnostic procedure. If you want to get a hip arthrogram for a labral tear, you can get this diagnostic procedure performed. The first step to the diagnosis is getting an intra-articular injection of gadolinium. The clinician would inject the gadolinium into your arm and then wait for a few minutes before giving you the local anesthesia for the next step. The clinician then uses the fluoroscopic guide to access the painful or damaged joint. The entire technique is sterile so that there is no possible risk of complications. The intra-articular position is documented, and the images are taken using a magnetic resonance imaging machine.

Currently there is no hip arthrogram CPT code, even though CPT Code 76003 is used for almost all of the work done on a hip. There are certain hip arthrogram complications that you should be aware of. Some preparation is required before the imaging process is performed, and without these, there may be risks of developing complications. Iodine often causes allergic reactions in various people. These reactions could range from mild to severe nausea. You may also experience several complications in your nervous and cardiovascular system. The equipment for performing this imaging should be kept up to date and serviced regularly. As a precaution, you should only visit facilities that have the license to perform this kind of imaging. If the staff is not trained well, and does not handle the equipment properly, it could lead to infection or even slight to severe joint damage.

The doctor will be able to tell you the correct interpretation of your examination results.