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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Arthrogram – WR Pediatric Imaging Procedure

This pediatric procedure is performed at Wake Radiology Raleigh MRI. For location information, click here.

What is a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) arthrogram?

An MRI, or MR, arthrogram is an imaging procedure that demonstrates the joint spaces. An injection of a liquid contrast material into the joint space allows joints to be particularly visible during the MRI.

When might an MRI arthrogram be needed?

An MRI arthrogram is needed when a problem with the joint cartilage is suspected.

How should I prepare my child for the procedure?

There is no specific preparation needed. Explaining what will happen before the procedure is the best preparation.

What will happen during the procedure?

When you arrive the day of the test, a technologist will explain the procedure to you and your child, answer your questions, and obtain your written consent. During the first part of the procedure, your child will need to lie on an X-ray fluoroscopy table. The pediatric radiologist will look at the area being examined with fluoroscopy and mark the joint space with a felt pen. He or she will then cleanse the injection area with a sterile soap. Next, he or she will inject a mixture of local anesthetic and two liquid materials that will be visible with X-ray and MRI. After a small amount of liquid has been injected, the needle will be removed. This portion of the procedure generally takes about 20 minutes. Your child will then be moved to an MRI room where the imaging will be performed.

MRI is a type of imaging that allows us to see inside the body using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer. Water molecules within the body’s organs and tissues respond to the MRI’s magnetic field, generating radio signals that are then processed by a computer into images that can be analyzed by the radiologist. The MRI takes from 30 to 45 minutes and requires your child to lie very still.

Will my child feel anything?

The injection may cause some discomfort and there may be some pain at the injection site for a short period of time afterwards. Local anesthetic and an anesthetic injected into the joint are used to minimize this discomfort.

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