MR arthrography of the elbow: normal anatomy and diagnostic pitfalls

J Comput Assist Tomogr. 1997 Jul-Aug;21(4):516-22. doi: 10.1097/00004728-199707000-00002.


Purpose: Our goal was to determine the normal MR arthrographic appearance of the elbow and to identify the potential diagnostic pitfalls of this technique.

Method: MRI with intra-articularly administered gadopentetate dimeglumine was performed in seven elbow joints derived from cadavers. Coronal, sagittal, and axial SE T1-weighted images with fat suppression and coronal 3D SPGR images with fat suppression were obtained in each elbow. The elbows were then sectioned.

Results: This technique allowed depiction of the cartilaginous surfaces of the elbow joint as well as clear delineation of the inner surface of the collateral ligaments. Potential diagnostic pitfalls included fat pads projecting into the joint, synovial folds, and cartilaginous pseudoerosions.

Conclusion: MR arthrography allows clear delineation of the intraarticular structures of the elbow. However, diagnostic pitfalls exist that increase the difficulty of interpreting MR arthrographic images.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cadaver
  • Cartilage, Articular / anatomy & histology
  • Contrast Media
  • Elbow Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Female
  • Gadolinium
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / instrumentation
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Male
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Reference Values
  • Synovial Membrane / anatomy & histology


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Gadolinium
  • Gadolinium DTPA