Information On Arthroscopic Ankle

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on October 16, 2012

The study of a series of images, generally X-rays and sometimes CT or MRI scans, is termed as arthrography. The series of images are often referred to as arthrograms. These images are taken after injecting a contrast medium in the joint. This procedure is performed under local anesthesia. The radiologist is guided by fluoroscopy or ultrasound during the placement of the needle into the joint for injecting the right amount of the contrast. Once this is settled, the radiologist takes the arthrogram and the physician analyzes it. This procedure is performed to highlight the structures of the joint.

An ankle arthrogram is usually taken to identify any abnormality in the ligament. Ligament tear, ankle impingement syndrome, stability of osteochondral lesions in the articular surface of joints, and any delineating loose bodies can be detected by using this process. A normal arthrogram shows uniform distribution of the contrast throughout the ankle joint. If the contrast is unevenly distributed then it indicates a disorder. The physician analyzes the arthrogram and advises the patient accordingly.

You can go in for this procedure when you want to know the reason behind unexplained joint pain. It shows the internal workings of the joint and sketches the soft tissue structures. It identifies problems related to ligaments, tendons, cartilage, or bone capsules. It locates cysts in the joint area and indicates any problems in their arrangement. The main purpose of using contrast is to highlight these areas by making them opaque so that they are clearly visible in X- rays. These chemicals are usually water or air soluble, the most common being iodine. Once the contrast is administered the patient is asked to do some light movements so that the chemical is spread evenly.

Since the contrast used is air or water soluble, it disappears quickly from the system due to absorption. Hence, it's very important that several films are taken within minutes of its administration. The films will be taken in with the patient's joint focused in different positions and angles. Since this process is rapid, it usually takes about an hour for this procedure to complete. The patient may feel a little discomfort due to the slight tingling sensation that is felt due to the contrast, but this will last only for a few minutes and is harmless.

Before opting for this procedure, the patient will be asked about any allergies and will be informed about any complications that may arise later. Some people are sensitive to iodine, so care has to be taken before it is used for the test. Once the procedure is done, the patient is advised to keep the tested area wrapped for at least 12 hours. Movements involving the affected area should also be avoided.

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