MR-Arthograms and thin walls don’t mix

LicensedToWhine.jpgI had my arthograph Monday, Aug. 29.

To bring those who don’t know up-to-date, I was diagnosed with hip dysplasia on June 20. You can read about it here.

I needed my arthograph done before they would schedule me for pre-op with my surgeon, Dr. Clohisy. Dr. Tang, who had to confirm my dysplasia before I did anything at Washington U, was great and had me do Dr. Clohisy’s required set of X-Rays when I met with him on Aug. 12.

So now I’m just waiting on them to schedule an appointment with Dr. Clohisy, then we’ll schedule surgery.

The arthograph is an MRI where they inject your joint with contrast dye, and it was everything I expected it to be. I signed into the Radiology department then they took me into the arthography room. It’s a normal exam room, but with a full table and fluoroscope, which is a live x-ray on a stand and looks like a big can light hanging above the table. It allows the doctor to see where the needle is going.

It was freezing in there. But I was prepared. I wore a tank top and comfy sweater, and socks and shoes. I wore cotton yoga pants so I wouldn’t have to wear the ever-stylish bermuda shorts they supply.

The assistant let me wrap up in a blanket and the doctor came in a few minutes later. I asked him if he was trying to freeze me out, but he said just to wait, it’s going to get hot. He began to prep the needles and sure enough, I shucked the blanket and it was roasting.

I told him I didn’t want to see the needles and he said that wouldn’t be a problem. I groaned with anxiety, and he told me to think about the dumb a/c in the room. The assistant taped my feet together as I mumbled about a hyperactive thermostat and that I didn’t want to do this.

One thing I wasn’t prepared for was where the needle was going. I assumed it would be the side of my hip where I received stim treatment. Nope. Front of body near my groin crease. Which meant I had to drop my shorts. He put a covering cloth over me to keep me modest and wiped me down with orange antiseptic. I’ve been told the inject point is the middle of where the incision will be for surgery.

There were three needles. Number one numbed my skin. It was the only one I felt, and it wasn’t bad, less pain than a flu shot. Number two, as far as I’m aware, didn’t even happen. It numbed my muscles. Number three was the long one (so I’m told). It’s actually the same diameter as the other two, so there’s no gaping hole or anything. I think he said it was a 22 gauge which is smaller than my earring posts.

This was the uncomfortable part, of course. The contrast dye has lidocaine or some form of numbing agent in it, but I don’t think anything can rid the feeling of pressure as the joint fills with dye. He had another doctor come in and consult. “Add a half cc more.”

By this point I have a cold rag on my forehead to ease my nausea and I’m clutching it as I moan and talk to myself. When the doctor pressed on my hip to spread the dye, I bellowed out and promptly apologize for being such a whine bag.

Then he took the needle out and stuck a band-aid on the prick. All done. But my whole body is shaking with nerves since I had gotten myself all worked up. Oh yeah, it was also back to being a refrigerator in there.

The assistant helped me into a wheelchair and laughed as she noticed he didn’t untape my shoes. I made a joke about falling flat on my face as she wheeled me back to the waiting room.

My parents looked at me anxiously. “We heard you screaming.” Oops! It really wasn’t that bad. Just really uncomfortable and I’m a total whine bag.


I had to wait for the MRI machine to be freed up. The man who had his right before mine was having trouble with back pain as he laid in the MRI, so he had to try several times to get his done. I’m glad it didn’t take too long, as the dye has a shelf life and I would have had to get more injected if it losed its potency. The MRI was a quick 30 minutes and my head stuck out of the machine, which was nice even though I’m not claustrophobic.

I used my crutches to leave as the backward motion on my leg made me very squeamish.

We ended up visiting a relative in another hospital near St. Louis and went to Cracker Barrel. By the time we got to the restaurant I was off the crutches and just limping slowly.

This week has been rough. I’ve been busy at work, and my hip is very uncomfortable. Tuesday night I got my results and my labrum is torn. Here is what that looks like.

It’s a 1 o’clock to 10 o’clock tear. If you look at a clock face, you’ll see that doesn’t leave much non-torn labrum. Labral tears allow for fluid seepage. No wonder the dye made it feel so disgusting. I also have cartilage damage and a cyst.

I’m hoping this allows my appointment and surgery to be expedited.


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