MR arthrography is an imaging examination of joints, which involves the administration of a contrast medium into the joint cavity followed by an MR examination (magnetic resonance imaging – MRI). The application of a contrast medium is performed by a radiologist under ultrasound guidance directly before the MRI. As opposed to traditional MRI, arthrography enables a more accurate imaging of various intra-articular structures.
The examination process
The first part of the examination takes about 30 minutes. Under ultrasound guidance, a doctor inserts a needle into the joint and then injects a contrast medium. Ultrasound guidance is essential for correct needle placement and precise administration of a contrast medium. The second part of the procedure is the MR examination, which lasts another 30-45 minutes.
When to undergo the MR arthrography?
The contrast medium in the joint cavity fills in potential damages, fissures and ruptures of given anatomical structures, which allows for more precise imaging. Arthrography is often used as an extension of diagnostic imaging when the traditional MR examination provides an unclear image of intra-articular structures. Arthrography of the shoulder joint is most commonly performed – it enables an accurate assessment of the glenoid labrum and injuries of the rotator cuff.
Arthrography is also used to examine the triangular disc of the wrist as well as accurately evaluate the glenoid labrum and potential damages of the hyaline cartilage in hip and shoulder joints.
The stability of loose bone fragments after chondro-osseous injuries can also be assessed through arthrography.
How to prepare for MR arthrography?
During the administration of a contrast medium into the joint cavity, patients may feel a slight stretching sensation. It is recommended to avoid intense physical activity on the day of the examination. Patients may feel discomfort or mild pain in the examined joint for the next 24 hours. Applying cool compresses to the affected joint may provide relief.
At Medicover Hospital, MR arthrography is performed by Zuzanna Piechota, MD, PhD.
Please bring a doctor's referral and a blood creatinine test result to the examination. It is recommended to measure the creatinine level no earlier than one month before the arthrography examination.
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