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MR Arthrography

MR Arthrography

In an MR arthrogram, fluid is placed into the joint, followed by an MRI scan. The addition of this fluid greatly enhances the quality of the examination.


The radiologist or technician injects a local anesthetic to numb the area and a thin needle is inserted into the joint. Contrast material (fluid) is injected into the joint. In some cases, a small amount of medication may also be injected. During the injection of the contrast agent, patients may feel slight, temporary pressure or discomfort as the joint is distended.

Preparation for an MRI Arthrogram:
This examination needs to be booked, except in case of an emergency.
Because the strong magnetic field used for MRI may interact with or be influenced by magnetic material implanted in or on the body, the MRI radiographer will enquire whether any susceptible prostheses or substances are present (see "What can I expect when I go for an MRI?") 

The radiologist or technologist may also ask about drug allergies and whether head surgery has been done in the past. If you might be pregnant, this should be mentioned.

Some patients who undergo MRI may feel confined or claustrophobic. If you are not easily reassured, a sedative may be administered. Roughly 1 in 20 patients will require medication. If you need sedation, the MRI might have to be rebooked for the following reasons:

  • You are required to be NIL PER MOUTH for at least 4 hours before sedation can be given
  • According to law you are not allowed to drive after having received a sedative.


After the procedure:
Patients may resume non-strenuous activities immediately after the procedure, but should avoid strenuous activity for 24 hours. There may be mild discomfort following the exam, but this should abate within 1-2 days. You may apply ice to the joint and take a mild analgesic. Avoid aspirin.

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