High-Tech Examination of Joints
Winchester Hospital's MR arthrogram services are provided at the Imaging Center in Woburn. The center is comfortable and includes natural outdoor lighting via the exterior windows, laser imagery to simulate a skylight ceiling and peripheral music. You may have a friend or family member sit with you during the exam.
About MR Arthrograms
An arthrogram is the X-ray examination of a joint such as shoulder, hip or wrist that uses a special form of X-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material containing iodine. Contrast material (dye) is placed into the joint to highlight its structures. Images of the joint are then obtained. The examination takes 20 to 30 minutes.
An MRI performed immediately after the injection of contrast material into a joint is called an MR arthrogram. This allows high-resolution imaging of the joint structures and is particularly sensitive for evaluating tears of the supporting ligaments, tendons and cartilage.
Our MRI services are accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).
What to Expect
During the first part of the procedure, you will lie on an X-ray fluoroscopy table. The radiologist will look at the area being examined with fluoroscopy and mark the joint space with a felt pen. The radiologist will clean the skin with sterile soap and numb the area with local anesthetic. A brief burning and stinging sensation will occur when the local anesthetic is injected in order to minimize discomfort at the start of the exam.
Next, he or she will place a thin needle into the symptomatic joint space and inject diluted contrast material. After a small amount of sterile contrast agent has been injected, the needle will be removed. This portion of the arthrogram procedure generally takes 20 to 30 minutes. You will then be escorted to an MRI room where the MR imaging will be performed. The MRI takes 20 to 30 minutes and requires you to lie very still. The injection site may be uncomfortable for a short period of time after the exam.
Scheduling an MR Arthrogram
To schedule an MR arthrogram, call 781-756-4008. MRI exams require a physician's order at the time of booking. You may be required to have pre-authorization from your insurance carrier prior to your exam. Please check with your insurance company.
Paying for Your Procedure
Although Winchester Hospital accepts most major commercial insurance plans, Medicare, Medicaid and Worker’s Compensation, it is important to check with your carrier prior to your exam to determine coverage. If you do not have health insurance, we accept MasterCard or Visa, personal checks or cash. We also are willing to set up payment plans.
Getting Your Results
Your exam will be interpreted by a radiologist using our state-of-the-art picture archiving and communication system (PACS). The results will then be sent to your doctor. Your doctor, in turn, will review the results with you to determine the best course of treatment.
To get a copy of your images, you will need to pre-arrange their release by calling Winchester Hospital’s Imaging Center in Woburn at 781-756-4008. A 36- to 48-hour notice is preferred for most efficient customer service. Urgent requests will be honored, but there may be a 30- to 60-minute wait.
Winchester Hospital offers a variety of rehabilitation services – including cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation as well as physical, occupational and speech therapy – to help you get back to your normal routine.
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