MRI - Small Bowel

Magnetic Resonance (MR) Enterography uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the small intestine.

This examination may help your Doctor diagnose inflammatory bowel disease and other abnormalities. It is non-invasive and does not use ionizing radiation.

What is MR Enterography?

MR enterography is a special type of MRI performed with a contrast material to produce detailed images of the small intestine.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive medical test that physicians use to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).

Detailed MR images allow physicians to evaluate various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor, transmitted electronically, printed or copied to a CD.

What are some common uses of the examination?

Physicians use MR enterography to identify and locate:
  • The presence and complications of Crohn's disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Inflammation
  • Bleeding sources and vascular abnormalities
  • Tumours
  • Abscesses and fistulas.
  • On arrival, you will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire. One of our MRI Radiographers will then check your safety questionnaire with you, and explain the examination to you. They will also answer any questions you may have.
    You will be asked to change into a gown and to remove any metal, for example jewellery, hairpins, eyeglasses, watches, wigs, dentures, hearing aids and underwire bras. Prior to the examination, you will be asked to drink several glasses of a water solution mixed with a contrast material. You will have about 40 minutes to drink all the fluid. An MRI specialist, the Radiographer, will take you into the scanning room where you will lie on the scanner  table. 
    Devices that contain coils capable of sending and receiving radio waves may be placed around or adjacent to the area of the body being examined. During an MRI of the head, for example, a device is positioned around the head to improve image quality.
    During the MRI you may slowly move through the scanner. The scanner can be quite loud, due to the powerful magnets working within it. You will hear repetitive clicking, tapping and other loud noises. We will ask you, as a precaution, to wear hearing protection and for some scans you may be able to listen to the radio. You will be asked to lie very still so as to ensure clear images are produced . The Radiographer operating the scanner can both see and hear you clearly throughout the scan and will speak to you through an intercom connected to the headphones.
    The procedure is painless. You don't feel the magnetic field or radio waves, and there are no moving parts around you. Some patients find it uncomfortable to remain still during the examination.  Others experience a sense of being closed-in (claustrophobia). In this situation, you may want to ask your Physician for a prescription for a mild sedative prior to your scheduled examination. However, fewer than one in 20 patients require this medication.
    In some cases, a contrast dye called gadolinium, may be injected through an intravenous line into a vein in your hand or arm. The contrast is not always needed but can enhance the appearance of certain details in the images produced. The contrast used during MRI scans is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than the dye used for CT scans.
    If you have not been sedated, no recovery period is required. You may resume your normal activities and diet immediately after the MRI. On very rare occasions, patients experience hives, itchy eyes or other reactions to the contrast dye (if it was used). If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction, please notify the Radiographer. A Radiologist or other physician will be available for immediate assistance.