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Joint injections are used to relieve pain in joints or to insert a dye called contrast into a joint to make it more visible in an arthrogram (a radiology study specifically for joints). An interventional radiologist guides a needle precisely into the joint and injects either a steroid (to reduce inflammation and pain) or a dye.
Children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis may require joint injections to relieve symptoms associated with the condition.
During the procedure, an interventional radiologist uses live imaging (computed tomography, ultrasound or X-ray) to guide a needle to the correct location. Injecting a joint normally takes about an hour, including any sedation or anesthesia your child may need.
You can expect the following during your child's joint injection procedure:
Joint injections do carry small risks. Sometimes a child has bleeding where the needle went into the joint. Rarely, the joint can become infected or your child can have an allergic reaction to the dye used for an arthrogram.
Any use of steroids carries a slight risk of skin atrophy (thinning of the skin). However, using interventional radiology to inject the steroid greatly reduces the chance of skin atrophy.