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Test Details
Test Code:RA0179
Test Name:MR Arthography Shoulder
Test Details & Preparation
Arthography is medical imaging used to help evaluate and diagnose joint conditions and unexplained pain. It is very effective at detecting disease within the ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It may be indirect, where contrast material is injected into the bloodstream, or direct, where contrast material is injected into the joint. Arthography may use computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or fluoroscopy - a form of real-time x-ray.

Your preparation may vary depending on which imaging method your exam will use. Tell your doctor if there’s a possibility you are pregnant and discuss any recent illnesses, medical conditions, medications you’re taking, and allergies - especially to contrast materials. Leave jewellery at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown.

Shoulder arthography can be used to study tears of the rotator cuff. The procedure can also define abnormalities of the glenoid labrum and bicipital tendon and sheath.

For pneumoarthrography, a gaseous medium has been used, for opaque arthography a water-soluble iodinated medium is used, and a combination of both has been used in double-contrast arthography. Current practice is single contrast arthography usually coupled with CT or MR imaging.

The exam is usually done under the fluoroscope, or less commonly ultrasound, to guide the needle into the correct place in the joint.

Magnetic Resonance Arthrography and Computed tomography arthrography (CT) combines a standard arthrogram with Magnetic Resonance Imaging or CT scanning. While preparing the iodine contrast for injection into the joint, the physician adds a small quantity of gadolinium contrast. Once the joint has been injected, the traditional radiographic images may or may not be obtained, and the patient then undergoes an MR or CT of the joint. The gadolinium in the contrast fluid yields a bright hyper intense signal on T1 weighted images and allows evaluation of quite small defects of the joint capsule, the articular surface of the bones and of the labral cartilage. MR arthrography is most often used in evaluation of the hip and acetabular labrum, of the shoulder rotator cuff and glenoid labrum, and less often in the wrist.

Patients who are allergic to or sensitive to medications, contrast dyes, local anaesthesia, iodine, or latex should not have this procedure. Potential risks are infections at the puncture site where the radiopaque substance or air are injected. Bleeding is also a small risk.
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