Musculoskeletal MRI and MR arthrography
When is this exam indicated?
Magnetic resonance imaging is the second-line imaging modality used to assess assess muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints, and bone at once. It is commonly performed in all joints in the human body, typically after radiography or ultrasonography. Magnetic resonance arthrography is a third-line imaging modality, which consists in the injection of contrast agents in the joint space – mainly the shoulder, the wrist, and the hip – with the two-fold purpose of distending the joint space and making the intra-articular structures more visible. The injection is performed using ultrasound guidance, which allows for a quick and precise targeting of the joint space without the use of ionizing radiations. MRA is usually requested before surgery, to have a more comprehensive evaluation of the area to treat.
How is it performed?
The patient is positioned inside the magnetic resonance system, which is a closed tube. The operator applies some plastic tools over the area to scan. The whole exam has a total duration which ranges from 10 to 30 minutes according to the area to scan. During this time, the patient needs to stay totally still. The exam is totally painless.
The small room inside the magnetic resonance tube may result in claustrophobia for some patients. Also, patients with a pace-maker or with implantable devices (e.g., neurostimulators) which are not compatible with a high magnetic field cannot perform the exam at our Insitution.