MRI Arthrogram

Also known as: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) arthrogram.

What is MRI arthrogram?

An MRI is a routine imaging examination that uses a large magnet, radiowaves and a computer to create detailed photographs of the body’s organs, tissues and bones.

A MRI arthrogram is used when your child has damaged a joint and small tears in the joint cartilage need to be identified.

It is often a 2-part procedure, firstly using fluoroscopy (a live X-Ray) to take pictures of the joint after contrast material has been injected into it, followed by and MRI.

What happens during the procedure?

  1. First, the area surrounding the joint is numbed (using a local anesthetic).
  2. After that, a contrast agent is injected directly into the joint. This allows the joint to appear more clearly seen during both fluoroscopy and the MRI portion of the test.
  3. Often a general anesthetic (by an anesthetic team) or intravenous sedation is needed before the MRI. Your child will be placed on a sliding scanning bed, which is then guided into the large cylindrical MRI unit.
  4. The study takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes.
For very young children who may have difficulty remaining still during the study, anesthesia may be used to ensure that the child’s movements do not distort the MRI image. For older children, Nicklaus Children’s can offer video viewing goggles to help keep the child relaxed and still.

Is any special preparation needed?

Children may need to avoid taking certain medication and not eat or drink before the test. All metal objects must be removed.

What are the risk factors?

An arthrogram is considered a low-risk study. Potential complications include bleeding, infection, injury to surrounding tissue, pain, and others.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: April 06, 2021 10:19 AM

Children's Radiology

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