Description of Arthrogram of the Shoulder
The arthrogram is a special X-ray of the space between two bones -- the joint.  The space contains cartilage, the soft substance between the bones that act as a cushion.  The cartilage is bathed in a fluid called synovial fluid that also acts as a cushion between joints.  A special dye that can be seen on X-ray is injected into the joint space and allows us to see whether some abnormality exists.  A local anesthetic is given to help ease the discomfort, but there may be some mild pain during the procedure.

Possible Risks of Arthrogram   Because a dye is injected the possibility of an allergic reaction is present.  A physician is in attendance and will administer the proper therapy if needed.  You are exposed to small amounts of radiation.  ( Tell the technician or doctor if you might be pregnant).  There is also a small chance of infection in the joint space that might require additional treatment.

Preparation  No definite restrictions of diet or fluids or medications exist for this procedure but you should not eat a heavy meal just prior to the procedure.


     You may be scheduled for a nuclear bone scan which involves the injection of a special material that contains a minute amount of radioactivity.  The radioactivity is less than a chest X-ray so don't worry.  The radiologist in charge will take pictures (not X-rays) of the area under study looking for changes that may explain problems that you have or may arise in the future.  YOur scan will look closely at your bones or skeletal system.  The injection will take place 2-3 hours before the actual scan is done to allow time for the bones to pick up the dye, so expect to leave and then return after the injection.

Possible Risks of Bone Scan     Minute amounts of radiation are used in the medicine that is injected -- tell the technician or doctor if you might be pregnant.  Because a dye is injected the possibility of an allergic reaction is present.  A physician is in attendance and will administer the proper therapy if needed.

Preparation    No restrictions of diet or fluids or medications exist for the examination.


The CAT scan is a special X-ray of the spine using a very sophisticaated computer with a rotating X-ray head.  We will get a look at the structure of the vertebrae and surrounding structures.  The developed X-ray picture is actually generated on a computer so that the results are not always ready immediatedly like simple X-rays.

Possible Risks   X-rays are given so be sure to tell the radiologist or technician if you might be pregnant.

Preparation   No restrictions.


The MRI scan is a new and safe technique for determining the presence of abnormalities of the bones and ligaments of your shoulder.  No X-rays or dyes are needed during this study.  Magnetic waves are measured as they course through the shoulder and these waves are interpreted by a computer into exact images of the internal structures.  The test takes a while to accomplish and you must remain still during the imaging --not too bad.  The worst part may be the loud noise accompanying the scan, but you will be given ear protectors.  Also, you will be placed in a tube like structure that you may find a bit confining.

Possible Risks
A strong magnet is used in this test. If you have a pacemaker or pacemaker wires or any other metal object inside you, or prior brain surgery, let us know.  (These include people who work around metal who might have filings in their eyes, middle ear prosthesis, older style heart valves or vascular clips, and any implanted injecting device such as those used for pain management.

Preparation  No other preperation needed.


   The EMG is a special study of the nerves and the muscles that the nerves control.  A special technician or physician will place very small needles which measure electric current (electrodes) into the muscles that are to be tested.  Small electric shocks are given and the response of the muscle is measured by the needle electrodes.  A nerve conduction study is a special study of the nerves.  A technician will place a small metal button over the nerve or nerves to be studied and then release a very small electric charge.  A measuring electrode placed farther down along the course of the nerve will measure speed and amount of the electrical impulse.  These studies will give us an idea of nerve or muscle damage, if any.

Possible risks  There is occasionally some discomfort and bruising.  In some patients, the discomfort might require some medication.

Preparation  None