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MRI Arthrogram

  • What is an MRI arthrogram?
  • Why is an MRI arthrogram being done?
  • How is the procedure performed?
  • What the Radiology Department Needs to Know
  • After Your MRI Arthrogram
  • Obtaining Your Test Results

1. What is an MRI arthrogram?

MRI arthrography is an imaging study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This exam demonstrates more detail of the interior of the joint than standard MRI. The dye that is injected into the joint is clear with a water-like consistency.

2. Why is an MRI arthrogram being done?

Although MRI without contrast is quite useful in many cases, certain joints and certain problems require injecting contrast into the joint, as in your case. Your doctor feels that the MRI arthrogram is one way to obtain information and images of the area of concern. The information obtained during this procedure will help guide future treatment options, and may also be used to keep tabs on a condition that you already have and are perhaps being treated for.

3. What are risks of the procedure?

In some patients iodine can cause allergic reactions, ranging from mild nausea to severe cardiovascular or nervous system complications. Since the contrast dye is put into a joint, rather than into a vein, allergic reactions are rare. Infection or joint damage are possible, although not frequent, complications of arthrogram.

4. How is the procedure performed?

  • The first part of the procedure will be done in a special procedure room in the radiology department (called fluoroscopy).
  • Your skin will be cleaned with an antiseptic soap.
  • Using a needle, the radiologist will then anesthetize the area using a local anesthetic.
  • After the area is numb a needle will be placed into the joint space using fluoroscopy. When the needle is in the correct place, the contrast will be injected and a number of X-ray images will be taken.
  • This part of your study will take about 30 minutes, after which you will be sent to the MRI scanner for the rest of your study.
  • The MRI may take as long as 45 minutes.

5. What the Radiology Department Needs to Know

Please call your ordering doctor in advance of your exam if you need to reschedule or if you answer “yes” to any of these questions:

  • Are you allergic to X-ray “dye” (iodine contrast material; MRI contrast material)?
  • Are you allergic to local anesthetics such as lidocaine or novacaine?
  • Are you allergic to any medication?
  • Are you allergic to latex?
  • Do you take Coumadin or other blood thinners?
  • Are you being treated now for any kind of infection?
  • Do you have a history of claustrophobia?
  • Do you have any metal in your body such as a pacemaker, aneurysm clips, artificial heart valves, hearing aids, medication pumps, dentures, orthopedic items such as pins, rods, wires, plates, and/or any shrapnel or gun shot fragments?
  • For women, are you using an IUD or diaphragm, breastfeeding an infant, pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant?

6. After Your MRI Arthrogram

You may leave the department right after your MRI. Restrict yourself to light activity the rest of the day. You may resume normal activities the next day. Your joints may be stiff or sore the next day, but this should get better in one or two days. If you have significant pain after the test, please contact us or your referring doctor right away. A rare, but possible problem is joint infection, which should be treated right away.

7. Obtaining Your Test Results

The findings from your test are reviewed and interpreted by the radiologist. These results will be given to your referring doctor, who will share them with you during your follow-up visit.

mri_arthrogram.txt · Last modified: 2012/04/03 01:54 (external edit)