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CT & MR Arthrography

arthrography

Arthrography is medical imaging to evaluate conditions of joints. There are several methods to do this.

Conventional arthrography is the x-ray examination of a joint that uses a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material containing iodine. Alternate methods of arthrography examinations use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT).

Fluoroscopy makes it possible to see bones, joints and internal organs in motion. When iodine contrast is injected into the joint, it fills the entire joint and appears bright white on an arthrogram, allowing the radiologist to assess the anatomy and function of the joint. Although the injection is typically monitored by fluoroscopy, the examination also involves taking radiographs for documentation. The images are most often, but not always, stored or viewed electronically.

MR arthrography also involves the injection of a contrast material into the joint, just like in conventional arthrography, except that the MR contrast material is different and contains gadolinium, which affects the local magnetic field. As in conventional arthrography, the contrast material outlines the structures within the joint and allows them to be evaluated by the radiologist.

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radiofrequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

CT arthrography uses the same type of contrast material as conventional arthrography and may be supplemented by air to produce a double contrast CT arthrogram. CT makes cross sectional images processed by a computer using x rays.

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