What are intra-articular joint injections?

Intra-articular joint injections are a form of arthography, a type of X-ray examining joint spaces in the body. During intra-articular joint injections, we insert a long, thin needle into a specific joint with the assistance of fluoroscopy. The needle injects saline and contrast before we perform an MRI scan. Cortisone or steroids may be injected for pain management. If your physician suspects a joint infection, we will use the same approach but draw out fluid (aspirate).

What should I expect during my intra-articular joint injection?

We will bring you into the exam room and position you on a table. The radiologist will mark the access area with a pen and clean your skin with antiseptic solution. The radiologist will drape the area to ensure it stays sterile. Using a small needle, the radiologist injects a local anesthetic under the skin to numb the area. We place a needle into the joint while using fluoroscopy to ensure proper placement before injecting contrast or steroids.

Once complete, we remove the needle and bandage the injection site. If a joint aspiration is ordered, the doctor will withdraw a fluid sample from the joint to send to our onsite lab.

How do I prepare for my intra-articular joint injection?

When scheduling your procedure, please inform us if:

  • You are taking any blood thinners such as Coumadin, Warfarin, Plavix, or Aspirin. You may be asked to discontinue your medication for up to three days prior and have a lab test done right before your procedure to ensure your blood is not too thin.
  • There is a chance you may be pregnant.

When will I get my results from my intra-articular joint injection?

A report will be sent to your referring physician within 24-48 hours. Your physician will inform you of the results.

Contact Us

To schedule an appointment, please call 206-860-5496 and select option 1.