Elbow MRI is a research method that allows visualizing the tendon-ligamentous apparatus, regional nervous and vascular structures, distal parts of the humerus and proximal parts of the ulna and radius, as well as the articular cavity. With the help of the procedure, it is possible to identify degenerative-dystrophic and inflammatory changes in the articular surfaces of bones, a violation of the structure of the joint cavity, the presence of neoplasms, traumatic injuries – ligament tears, tendon stretching, dislocations, fractures and fractures, the presence of splinters, hematomas and hemarthrosis.
The main indication for the elbow MRI is the lack of information of other research methods in the clinical manifestations of the lesion of this area. Such manifestations include swelling of the joint area, signs of hemarthrosis and synovitis, pain, crunch, pathological mobility, a decrease in the amplitude of movements in the joint after injuries or against the background of autoimmune diseases (arthrosis, arthritis, rheumatism), the presence of palpable neoplasm, violation of the innervation of the distal parts of the upper limb and signs of nerve infringement. MRI is also used for a detailed study of the anatomical and functional features of the elbow joint before surgery, monitoring of joint functions after treatment.
Elbow MRI is categorically contraindicated for persons who have metal and complex electronic elements in the body – artificial heart valves, insulin pumps, vascular clips, traumatological and orthopedic metal structures, etc. Also, this study cannot be carried out by women in the first trimester of pregnancy and persons with tattoos made with paint with an admixture of metal-containing substances. Relative contraindications to MRI are the II-III trimester of pregnancy, mental illness and phobias (schizophrenia, claustrophobia). Tomographs have a limitation on the weight of the patient, which differs from different models of equipment. MRI using intravenous contrast is contraindicated in persons with severe renal insufficiency and allergy to gadolinium preparations.
Elbow MRI does not require patient preparation. If it is necessary to introduce contrast agents, it may be necessary to observe fasting for 4-5 hours before the study, conducting a sensitivity test for the drug used. Immediately before the procedure, the patient needs to take off all metal objects (including removable dentures), in some clinics they are asked to change into a special robe. Next, the doctor gives a brief briefing on how the MRI will be performed, if necessary, introduces contrast agents. Also at this stage, children and persons unable to remain motionless (patients with mental disorders, phobias, severe pain syndrome) are sedated by an anesthesiologist.
Methodology of conducting
Elbow MRI is performed using a tomograph – a device that looks like a large tube with a hole and a table inside. After preparation, the patient lies down on the table and moves inside the equipment, and the radiology doctor goes to the next office, which houses control elements that allow controlling the quality of the images received, and equipment for monitoring the patient and communicating with him. On average, an elbow MRI takes from 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the degree of detail of the images. During this time, the patient should be in a stationary state.
Most people do not feel anything when performing a tomography or hear a soft clicking sound that the device emits, less often they feel a non-intense tingling or warmth. When using contrast agents, there may be slight discomfort, and after the procedure – a slight headache or nausea. As a rule, there are no other complications or undesirable consequences. Usually you can get the result 60 minutes after the end of the procedure. Most clinics give the patient “on hand” printed pictures, copies of them recorded on a CD, written “by hand” or printed description and conclusion of the doctor of radiation diagnostics.
Elbow MRI allows you to diagnose the following diseases and pathological conditions: fractures of the radial, ulnar and humerus bones in the joint area, their avascular necrosis, dislocations and subluxations, infectious and autoimmune lesions of the joint, narrowing or ankylosis of the articular gap. Also, this technique makes it possible to identify ruptures or inflammatory lesions of muscles, the presence of abscesses and neoplasms with an assessment of their size and structure, ruptures of ligaments and tendons, damage to the radial and median nerve, as well as regional vessels, inflammation of synovial membranes.