Arthroscanner: how is this examination carried out?

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Arthroscanner: what is it and in which cases is it prescribed?

The CT arthrography is a medical imaging examination that studies the joints, and in particular the menisci, ligaments and cartilages. ” It is a second-line examination, prescribed to complete a ultrasound or an x-ray, allowing precise detection and investigation of certain joint diseases “explains Dr. Alexandre di Iorio, orthopedic surgeon.

To know. It should be noted that the CT arthrography can also be a good alternative to the MRI examination – in particular when there is metallic debris in the body (in the heart, in the brain …) or in the event of severe claustrophobia.

A CT arthrography can be prescribed (by a sports doctor, an orthopedic surgeon or a general practitioner) in the following cases:

  • For the shoulder joint: a painful and / or unstable shoulder, frequent dislocations of the shoulder, tendon pathology of the rotator cuff (these are all the muscles that attach to the head of the humerus, the bone which is between the shoulder and the elbow),
  • For the knee joint: inflammatory arthropathy (understand: joint disease), knee pain with blockages, patellofemoral disease (for example, patellar syndrome), osteochondritis (this is an abnormal growth of the bone and cartilage, especially present in children and adolescents), a cartilaginous lesion,
  • In a general view : osteoarthritis, synovial osteochondromatosis (this disease corresponds to the formation of “balls” in the joint), a foreign body in the joint, unexplained joint pain …

To know. The CT arthrography is a medical imaging test especially relevant for large joints of the hip, knee, wrist and shoulder “specifies the orthopedic surgeon.

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Arthroscanner: are there any contraindications? The CT arthrography is a medical imaging examination that is contraindicated in cases of allergy to iodinated contrast medium and / or in case of infections, in particular of the affected joint. ” It is an examination that is performed very rarely in children because it is irradiating, adds the specialist. Pregnancy can also be a contraindication depending on the term and the area concerned.

Arthroscanner: in practice, how does it work?

The CT arthrography is a medical imaging examination that is done in a radiology office, clinic or hospital. As a first step, it is necessary to recover an iodinated contrast product (prescribed by the doctor) from the pharmacy – most often it is Iomeron®.

After careful disinfection of the affected area, the radiologist injects a small amount of contrast medium into the joint using an intra-articular puncture needle, under radiological control – which means that the specialist takes regular examinations. X-rays (via an X-ray) to verify that the product is in the target location.

Next step : CT scan or computed tomography examination. The patient (who previously removed his jewelry and other metal objects) lies down on the scanner table and the platform moves into the ring of the machine. The doctor can communicate with the patient through a microphone. It may be necessary to hold your breath for a few seconds in order to get clear images.

Arthroscanner: the questions we ask ourselves

  • Arthroscanner: how long does it last? In total, the exam lasts about 30 minutes.
  • Arthroscanner: is it dangerous for health? The CT arthrography is indeed an irradiating examination (X-ray). ” This examination must be prescribed in validated indications because it is irradiating and invasive (puncture of the joint) “specifies Dr. di Iorio. On the other hand, CT arthrography is not a painful examination and there are no side effects. However, it is recommended to hydrate yourself well after a CT arthrography to promote elimination. iodinated contrast medium.
  • Arthroscanner: is it reimbursed? The CT arthrography is a medical examination reimbursed at 100% by Social Security when it is carried out in the hospital or in a radiology practice approved by sector 1. In a radiology practice approved by sector 2, it can be paid for by the mutual.

Thanks to Dr. Alexandre di Iorio, orthopedic surgeon at the Montagard Surgical Center in Avignon (ELSAN group).

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