Advanced Musculoskeletal MRI

Orthopedic MRI for Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC

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Most people think that all MRI scans are done the same way. That is simply not true.

MRI scanners come in all different shapes and sizes, and the quality of the test varies greatly. Some important factors include:

  • quality of the MRI scanner
  • skill of the MRI technologist (the person who does the scan)
  • training, experience, and skill of the radiologist (the doctor who interprets the images)

You should think carefully about where you get your MRI— you want the best possible images and a correct interpretation. An accurate MRI will help your doctor choose the right treatment plan for you.


Arthroscan®  (pronounced "Ar- thro-scan") is a joint MRI where the MRI parameters have been carefully optimized to the size of the joint.

We measure the size of your joint electronically, and use those measurements to produce optimal images. Every parameter is optimized for speed and accuracy, leading to better images.

This systematic approach to joint imaging is not typical— in most places a person who is 5 feet tall and 100 pounds will get the same MRI as a person who is 6 feet tall and 250 pounds. With an Arthroscan, those two people will get scanned very differently. That’s why we call it Personalized MRITM, orthopedic MRI customized for you.

An Arthroscan is performed on the most powerful orthopedic MRI scanner available, operating at a magnetic field strength of 3 Tesla (3T). Scanning on a 3T MRI machine gives more signal, and produces clearer images. In comparison, standard MRI scanners operate at 1.5 Tesla, half the strength of a 3T Arthroscan MRI. The combination of the 3 Tesla magnetic field and personally-tailored MRI results in images of unparalleled quality and detail.

Bonus Fact: The word "arthro" means "joint", and comes from "arthron", the Greek word for joint.


What do I need to schedule an Arthroscan MRI?

You will need an order (prescription) from your medical provider for an MRI scan. A standard MRI order will suffice for insurance purposes. Once you have this, you can contact us at Novant Health Imaging to schedule your examination.

What is the difference Between an Arthroscan MRI and an arthrogram?

An Arthroscan MRI is a joint MRI performed on a 3T MRI scanner, with parameters optimized to the size of your joint.

The term "arthrogram" refers to the injection of contrast into a joint. After the contrast is injected, images are taken using MRI, CT, or x-ray.

How much will my Arthroscan MRI cost?

It is a strange thing, but insurance companies do not distinguish between old, low-magnetic field MRI scanners and new, high-magnetic field MRI scanners. In addition, they do not reimburse based on the quality of the MRI scan or MRI report. This has never made any sense to us, but we don’t make the rules. Thus, an Arthroscan MRI costs the same as a regular MRI scan.

The cost of your particular MRI scan will depend on your insurance plan and where you have the procedure done. You can’t change your insurance quickly, but you can (and should) actively choose where you get your MRI scan.

Where should I get my MRI?

Here are three things you should know about MRI scans, that few people will tell you:

#1— MRI scans vary in quality between locations. There are differences in the age and quality of the equipment, the way the MRI scans are acquired, and the experience of the radiologist interpreting your study. Pick a center that you have confidence in. It can make a real difference in your care.

#2— Many doctors are not aware of the quality differences between locations. Doctors are typically quite busy, and don’t have the time or inclination to direct you to the best place to get your MRI. Unless they are specialists, they do not look at the images, only at the report of the radiologist. Some specialists do look at the MRI images, but their interpretation is only as good as the images.

#3— MRI scans vary in cost between locations. MRI scans done at an outpatient imaging center cost much less than MRI scans done at hospital-owned or hospital-affiliated imaging centers. Before you choose an MRI center, you should ask them what your out-of-pocket cost will be. If you have not met your deductible for the year, or if your plan requires coinsurance, then all or part of the charges are your responsibility, and you could be stuck with a large bill.

To get the best care, choose the best MRI.

Look at Arthroscan Examples


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