MRI Arthrogram For Damaged Elbow

Submitted by Medical Health Test Team on October 16, 2012

An arthrogram is a medical imaging based test used to study the structure of a joint. It is used in patients who have suffered physical injury or who are suffering from conditions such as arthritis which affect the structure and functionality of the joints. Older patients may require an arthrogram to understand the gradual progress of old age that is causing the joint to function in an improper manner. An arthrogram may be used prior to surgery in order to understand whether a surgical procedure is required and whether it will be effective in curing the problem that is affecting the patient.

The procedure for an arthrogram is essentially the same regardless of what type of imaging device is used for the test. The device may be an x-ray machine, a CT scan machine or an MRI scan machine. The CT and MRI scans are being increasingly preferred, especially for complicated injuries. An MRI scan machine is a Magnetic Resonance Image scan. It is used in many different medical procedures. An MRI machine is generally avoided when a patient has a pacemaker installed in the heart. An MRI cannot be conducted on a patient who has a metal plate in any part of the body that has been installed due to a previous injury.

The elbow is a 3-bone joint in the middle of the arm which separates the upper arm and forearm. The radius and ulna are the bones of the forearm whereas the humerus is the single bone of the upper arm. The elbow is a hinge joint which has only one plane of movement. It can be folded, while flexing the biceps or straightened while extending the arm.

An MRI arthrogram for elbow is conducted when there is damage or injury in the elbow joint. A typical problem of the elbow joint is a condition known as bursitis where the joint becomes inflamed over a period of time, affecting older people. A contrast material is injected directly into the joint for this procedure. This injection may be slightly uncomfortable, especially when the joint is inflamed. The MRI scan is then conducted, sometimes from 2 or 3 different angles. If there is mobility in the joint, the patient might be asked to fold the joint and then extend the joint for subsequent scans. This action would help in giving the idea of the physical condition of the joint during extension and during compression.

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