MR Arthrography is an imaging examination that can be used to evaluate and diagnose joint conditions and unexplained pain. It involves the injection of contrast material into a joint, using fluoroscopy or ultrasound to guide the placement of the needle, followed by an MRI. It can increase the effectiveness of the MRI at detecting disease within the joints.
Advanced technology. Subspecialized care.
MRI is the preferred method of imaging joints due to detailed, multiplanar images and lack of ionizing radiation. In some cases, the injection of contrast into the joint can improve diagnostic accuracy. If your doctor orders an MR arthrogram, Eastern Radiologists’ expertise and state-of-the-art equipment makes us the first choice in the evaluation of joint pain. Our fellowship-trained musculoskeletal radiologists, Drs. Robinette and Steinbaker, oversee our MR arthrography service and offer their expertise in the interpretation of often-complex examinations. Our new open wide-bore MRI scanner offers incredible image quality, essential to the evaluation of joints, as well as increased comfort due to its larger size. And remember that Greenville MRI is open evenings and weekends to accommodate even the busiest schedule.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are common uses of MR Arthrography?
MR arthrograms help physicians evaluate alterations in structure and function of a joint and help to determine the possible need for treatment, including arthroscopy, open surgery or joint replacement.
The procedure is most often used to identify abnormalities within the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee or ankle. It’s also used to help diagnose persistent, unexplained joint pain or discomfort.
What can I expect?
As with any MRI procedure, it’s important that you remain perfectly still while the images are being obtained—usually just a few minutes at a time. You’ll be able to relax between imaging sequences, but will be asked to maintain your position without movement as much as possible. The highly-trained technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times using a two-way intercom. If you have not been sedated, no recovery period is necessary. You may resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately after the exam, although vigorous exercise is not recommended for at least 24 hours.
Are there any side effects?
Side effects from contrast material are experienced on rare occasions, including nausea and local pain. Similarly, patients are rarely allergic to the contrast material and experience hives, itchy eyes or other reactions. After the examination, you may experience swelling and discomfort. Applying ice to the joint can reduce swelling if it is bothersome, and a mild over-the-counter analgesic can be taken for pain. These symptoms usually disappear after 48 hours. Contact your doctor if they persist after two days.
I’ve heard MRI is very uncomfortable. Should I be nervous?
MRI is safe, painless and—for most people—entirely comfortable. Some patients may experience anxiety or claustrophobia. In such instances, medication such as Valium can be administered to reduce stress or uneasiness. Please talk with your doctor if you feel you need anti-anxiety medication.
What if I cannot have an MRI?
For patients who have a contraindication to MRI, we offer CT arthrograms at our main campus. While not the preferred examination, this can still offer useful information.
Schedule an appointment.
Please have your doctor schedule your appointment for this service. If you have questions about your appointment or need to reschedule call 252.752.5000. This service is offered at the following locations:
Prepare for your appointment.
Please inform us immediately if there’s a possibility you are pregnant, and discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, medications you’re taking, and allergies—especially to contrast materials. Discontinue all use of anticoagulants five days prior to your appointment, with approval from your referring physician. Leave jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. Please arrange for a ride home after the procedure.