MR arthrogram

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A test to get a more detailed picture of inside your joint

​An MR arthrogram creates detailed pictures of inside your joint to help diagnose and treat joint problems

About

This test is used to help detect any problems with your joint and is most commonly used to look inside the hip. It can also be used for the shoulder, knee or wrist. Dye is injected into your joint to show the area inside more clearly.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    An MR arthrogram will be carried out under local anaesthetic to block pain from the area when the dye is injected into your joint. An X-ray or ultrasound will be used to make sure the dye is being injected into the right place. This usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.

    You’ll be taken to the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner. The scanner uses a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of inside your body. You will be asked to lie on your back and a camera will then be placed over the joint to take the images. It can take 30 to 60 minutes, depending on which joint is being scanned.

  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will let you know how to prepare and answer any questions. Make sure you tell them if you have a history of allergy or asthma.

    Although an MRI is completely safe, the powerful magnetic field used means that not everyone can have an MRI.

    It's important to tell your consultant if you have:

    - an internal defibrillator, pacemaker, or other implanted electronic device
    - a cochlear implant
    - artificial heart valves
    - implanted drug ports
    - artificial limbs or metallic joints
    - implanted nerve stimulators
    - surgical clips such as those used on brain aneurysms
    - any pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples

  • Afterwards icon plus

    You won't need to stay in hospital overnight. You may feel some pain in your joint after the procedure so it may be a good idea to arrange for someone to help you get home, depending on which joint you have injected. Your consultant will let you know if there's anything you can't do immediately afterwards, such as driving.

    Your scan is done by a radiographer and your results will be sent to your consultant. They’ll write a report of their findings, which will be sent to the GP who referred you in 24 to 48 hours.

Consultant in theatres

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.

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