What is an MR Arthrogram?

An MR arthrogram is two-part exam, the first part is completed with the assistance of an x-ray machine called a C-Arm and the second part is the MRI of the affected area. Typically patients would need to have the x-ray portion of this exam completed in a hospital setting in Radiology and then get in their car and drive to the MRI center. Shields is now able to offer this service in “one stop” at two locations, Framingham and Weymouth. It is the latest refinement in diagnostic testing, used to evaluate joint pain, swelling or abnormal joint movement.

An arthrogram is used to:

  • Identify the presence of abnormal growths or cysts. 
  • For diagnosis of complete rotator cuff tears, adhesive capsulitis, tear of the rotator interval, disorders of the biceps tendon, and impingement syndrome.

The time may vary based on several factors but is usually 1-2 hours. Patients are asked to withhold fluids 2 hours prior to arrival. Our team of specialists are available to answer your questions and make every effort to make the experience as pleasant as possible.

The procedure begins with the application of a local anesthetic to the area being scanned. A radiologist then injects the affected area with a small amount of contrast agent under the guidance of x-ray. The patient is then sent to the MR room for imaging of the joint. During the scan, patients may relax and listen to music while more images are being taken.
Following the test, the images will be reviewed and prepared for interpretation by our radiologists. The results are then forwarded to the referring physician, who will then be responsible for discussing the results with the patient.


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