Joint MRI

is a special in-depth procedure used for investigating disorders in these areas. Every joint in the human body can be examined using MRI. Due to the high resolution and outstanding ability to differentiate between the finest tissue structures, this process is the method of choice, providing answers to most medical queries in this area.

By using electromagnetic waves and special computers, it is possible to visualise the joints inside the body by means of cross-sectional images without using harmful radiation. The radiologist can thus obtain information about the inside of the body and associate any changes with a particular disease. This makes it possible to obtain a precise diagnosis and implement the corresponding treatment.

  • Injuries, such as fractures, tendon, ligament or cartilage tears
  • Structural abnormalities due to aging
  • Infection
  • Tumors
  • Inflammatory disease
  • Congenital abnormalities (those you’re born with)
  • Osteonecrosis (bone cell death caused by a poor blood supply to the area)
  • Bone marrow disease
  • Degenerative joint problems, like arthritis
  • Herniation or degeneration of discs of the spinal cord
  • Assessment after surgical procedures

Preparation:

Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure to you and give you a chance to ask any questions.

If your MRI involves the use of contrast dye, you will be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if anything is not clear.

Generally, there is no special restriction on diet or activity before an MRI.

Before the MRI, it is extremely important that you inform the technologist if any of the following apply to you:

  • You are claustrophobic and think that you will be unable to lie still inside the scanning machine, in which case you may be given a sedative
  • You have a pacemaker or have had heart valves replaced
  • You have any type of implanted pump, such as an insulin pump
  • You have metal plates, pins, metal implants, surgical staples, or aneurysm clips
  • You have any metallic fragments anywhere in the body
  • You have permanent eyeliner or tattoos
  • You are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
  • You ever had a bullet wound
  • You have ever worked with metal (for example, a metal grinder or welder)
  • You have any body piercings
  • You have an intrauterine device (IUD)
  • You are wearing a medicine patch

There is a possibility that you may get a sedative before the procedure, so you should plan to have someone drive you home afterward.

Based on your medical condition, your healthcare provider may request other specific preparation.

 

The procedure:

MRI examinations may be performed on outpatients or inpatients.

You will be positioned on the moveable examination table. Straps and bolsters may be used to help you stay still and maintain the correct position during imaging.

Small devices that contain coils capable of sending and receiving radio waves may be placed around your knee to improve image quality.

If a contrast material will be used in the MRI exam, a physician, nurse or technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) catheter, also known as an IV line, into a vein in your hand or arm. A saline solution may be used to inject the contrast material. The solution will drip through the IV to prevent blockage of the IV catheter until the contrast material is injected.

You will be placed into the magnet of the MRI unit and the radiologist and technologist will perform the examination while working at a computer outside of the room.

If a contrast material is used during the examination, it will be injected into the intravenous line (IV) after an initial series of scans. Additional series of images will be taken during or following the injection.

When the examination is complete, you may be asked to wait until the technologist or radiologist checks the images in case additional images are needed.

Your intravenous line will be removed.

MRI exams generally include multiple runs (sequences), some of which may last several minutes.

Depending on the type of exam and the equipment used, the entire exam is usually completed in 15 to 45 minutes.

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