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An MRI arthrogram is an imaging procedure that obtains pictures of your child's joint after a contrast material has been injected into it, allowing the radiologist to see the soft tissue structure of your child's joint.
An MRI arthrogram is a two-part procedure:
Performing MRI arthrogram in children poses unique challenges. The Division of MRI at Boston Children's provides a soothing, child-friendly environment with:
An MRI arthrogram is two-part procedure, involving fluoroscopy and MRI. First, a special type of X-ray technology, called fluoroscopy, is used to take pictures of the joint after a contrast material has been injected into it. This allows the radiologist to see the soft tissue structure of the joint. The joint is then examined with MRI, a routine diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a large magnet, radio waves, and a computer to produce 2- and 3- dimensional images of the body's organs, tissues and bones.
Your physician may request an MRI arthrogram when a problem with your child's joint cartilage is suspected. An MRI arthrogram may be more useful than a regular x-ray because it shows the surface of soft tissues lining your child's joint as well as the bones.
MRI is done in conjunction with an arthrogram, as it can obtain specific diagnostic information not provided by the arthrogram.
When you arrive, please go to the Radiology check-in desk on the second floor of the main hospital. An ambulatory service representative will check your child in and verify his registration information.
You and your child will be taken to the procedure room, where the fluoroscope will be used to take x-rays. Your child will need to sit or lie on the fluoroscopy table. The radiologist will:
After the injection, your child may be asked to move the joint around so that the contrast can be distributed evenly throughout the joint. This portion of the procedure generally takes about 20 minutes.
The injection of the anesthetic may cause your child some discomfort, but it's minimized through the use of a numbing agent.
Your child may have some mild pain, tenderness and swelling in the joint after the exam. You may also hear a grating, clicking or cracking sound when the joint is moved. This is normal and goes away in about 24 hours.
When the arthrogram is complete, you will be taken to the MRI check-in desk for the MRI portion of the imaging exam.
An MRI scanner is a large, tube-shaped magnet that provides a strong magnetic field around your child. A radiofrequency coil is placed over the body part that is to be imaged. The magnetic field, along with applied radiofrequency waves, temporarily alters the alignment of hydrogen protons found in water molecules within the body. Computers construct the images based on the radiofrequency signals emitted by the protons.
After the arthrogram, your child is moved to an MRI room where additional imaging is performed. When your child is brought into the scanner room:
An MRI technologist performs your child's scan. You may stay in the scanner room with your child unless the MRI safety screening questionnaire finds that it is not safe for you to do so. You are also given earplugs to wear in the room.
MRI scans consist of several sequences of a few minutes duration each that cumulatively take anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes, depending on the information required by the radiologist and your physician. We give you a more specific time frame before the scan begins.
An MRI is loud at times, but painless. The MRI scanner takes pictures without touching the body.
MR makes music!
When the MRI arthrogram is done, your child will be ready to go home. The radiologist reviews the images and creates a report of the findings and diagnosis for your referring doctor.
The radiologist's report will be sent to the physician who requested the exam and your child's doctor will then discuss the results with you.
Years of experience have shown no known harmful effects from the magnetic fields and radiofrequency pulses emitted by the MRI machine.
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