WHAT IS MR ENTEROGRAPHY?
MR Enterography (MRE) is a specialized type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that creates detailed, cross-sectional images of the small intestine. Our team of sub-specialized radiologists utilizes MR Enterography to identify, locate, and characterize various disease processes and conditions such as:
- The presence, severity, and possible complications of Crohn’s disease and other types of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Inflammation (infections, vasculitis, radiation changes, etc.)
- Bleeding sources and vascular abnormalities
- Abscesses and fistulas
- Bowel obstructions
This exam does not use radiation but does involve:
- Drinking fluid to distend the small bowel and better visualize the intestinal lining (mucosa) and filling defects (polyps, tumors, etc.) The patient will be asked to drink Volumen (2-3 450ml bottles) upon arrival.
- You will be asked to arrive 2 hours before your table time. The first oral contrast should be consumed as quickly as you are able. The second and third should be consumed over a 15 minute period, to be completed approximately 30 min before you are placed on the MRI table.
- An injection of a contrast material, which makes the blood vessels more visible and demonstrates enhancement patterns of the bowel wall.
- Both IV (intravenous) and IM (intramuscular) injections of glucagon to relax and reduce the contractions of small bowel to improve image visualization.
BEFORE ARRIVING FOR YOUR EXAM
To make registration quicker and easier, we encourage you to take advantage of our online system, where you will complete the MRI Screening Questionnaire and the MRI and Pregnancy form (if applicable).
If you are claustrophobic (fearful of small, enclosed areas) or experience pain when lying on your back for more than 30 minutes, your referring physician may prescribe a relaxant or pain medication to help you through the exam. When scheduling your appointment, please make the IMI Team aware of any concerns or issues you might have, so we can ensure that you have everything you need to comfortably, successfully complete your MRI exam.
While we don’t anticipate a long wait, we do want to make any waiting time as pleasant as possible. Please consider bringing a magazine, book, or music with headphones to help you pass the time.
Please do not eat or drink anything for six hours before your arrival.
Unless you are told otherwise, you may take your medications as usual.
Please leave all jewelry and valuables at home.
Please inform the technologist, radiology nurse, and or radiologist of any allergies you may have, or if you are pregnant or nursing.
If you have not already done so online, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to determine if an MRI is safe for you. Because an MRI utilizes a strong magnetic field, patients with various implants (usually metallic), body piercings, or other metal in their bodies (including some tattoos) may encounter difficulty with an MRI. It is critical that your imaging physician is made aware of any such potential issues before your examination. For more important safety information regarding metals and MRI, please visit our How to Prepare for an MRI section.
You will be asked questions that verify that the injection of Gadolinium, the MRI contrast agent, is safe for you. If you have a history of kidney disease, a blood test may be required to ensure that you can safely be given gadolinium.
During your exam, you will be given glucagon intravenously to slow down your bowel contractions. Glucagon can worsen glaucoma, some heart rhythm disturbances, and can cause difficulty urinating if you have prostate disease. Please inform your technologist if you have any of these conditions.
Prior to your procedure, you will be instructed to drink a thin barium fluid called Volumen to distend your bowel.
DURING THE EXAM
An MRI machine consists of a large cylinder-shaped tube with a moveable scanning table that slides into the center of the machine. For this exam, you will be asked to lie head-first on the table with your arms at your sides. An IV will be placed in your arm to administered Glucagon.
Coils (special devices to improve image quality) may be placed on or around your abdomen.
This exam requires the use of an IV contrast agent, Gadolinium, to improve the quality of your images. When the agent is injected into the arm, it may cause a cooling sensation.
The scanning table will slide your entire body into the magnet. During the scan, you may feel a slight vibration and will hear intermittent humming, thumping, clicking, and knocking sounds. Headphones will be provided to help mask the noise and allow you to listen to music. As your images are taken, you must hold very still and at times may be asked to hold your breath.
The technologist will able to see and hear you at all times during the exam.
The MRI exam will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the specifics that your referring physician has ordered.
AFTER YOUR EXAM
Once your exam is complete, there will be no restrictions placed upon you. You may eat, drive, and resume your activities as usual. Your images will be examined by a radiologist and their report sent to your healthcare provider within 24-48 hours of your examination. Your healthcare provider will review the results with you.