MRI Joints

  • MRI of the joints is generally the preferred examination in the assessment of patients with symptoms referable to the bones or joints, especially if radiographs confirm no fracture.
  • CT is a good alternative when a patient cannot have an MRI study. Patients with pacemakers, certain aneurysm clips/coils, or other metallic, mechanical, electrical and electrically conductive devices may not be able to have an MRI.
  • MRI is able to delineate the anatomy of the joints and internal bone allowing very detailed assessment for abnormalities that are often not visible on other modalities. The joints most often assessed with MRI are the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hips, knee and feet. It is a very accurate test in detecting the most common abnormalities of the joints such as bursitis, rotator cuff injury, labral tears and tendinopathy. In the absence of trauma, radiographs of the shoulder are generally unhelpful. Ultrasound is a good test of the more superficial shoulder structures (rotator cuff and bursa) surrounding the shoulder but does not assess the labrum. Ultrasound is a good alternative examination, especially if a patient is not suitable for MRI.
  • MRI is essentially the gold standard examination of the knee and is very accurate at assessing for meniscal tears, cartilage loss, cruciate and other ligament injuries. MRI is also very accurate at assessing common ailments at the elbow (tennis elbow) and at the wrist (tenosynovitis).
  • MRI is the best test in examining bone pain, for example, in suspected non-displaced fractures or a bony lesion such as a tumour.  However, radiographs should be the first examination.
  • MRI is excellent at assessing soft tissue lumps such as lipomas or other lesions.
  • An MR arthrographic study of a joint should only be requested by a specialist and are particularly suited to patients when surgery is being considered and routine MRI has already been performed.
There are several options available for booking a scan at the Mater Private:
Online: On each services page you will find a request an appointment button on the right hand side of your screen. This will automatically email our team with your request. A member of the team will then be in touch to arrange a suitable date and time.
Email: An email can be sent to the team at
Phone: You can call us on  01 885 8173 / 01 885 8461 
Fax: You can fax a referral to 01 885 8282
Once an examination has been booked an appointment letter will be posted to the patient. In this letter we will include a patient information leaflet with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the examination. This content can also be found on our website. At the Mater Private Dublin we can generally accommodate MRI requests within two weeks of booking.
There is no specific preparation required for an MRI of the bones and joints. Most examinations last approximately 30 minutes, however, some can take longer. The patient will be able to leave immediately following the examination and will be given a disc containing the images from their scan.
How long does it take to receive the results?
A Consultant Radiologist will interpret the study and dictate the report on the same day for most examinations. The report will be posted to the referring Physician within 1-2 days.
At the Mater Private Hospital, we have a number of direct settlement agreements in place with the various insurance companies:
  • MRI is fully covered by Aviva, GLO, GMA and ESB (majority of plans covered)
  • VHI cover with consultant referral only
A patient's level of cover will be discussed with them at the time of booking their appointment. Our insurance advisors will be happy to check a patient's level of cover at the Mater Private Hospital with their particular plan. 
Our insurance helpline is available on 01 885 8177.  
Alternatively you can email
In the event that your patient is not covered by his/her private health insurance, they will be advised on the cost of the scan at the time of booking.