MRI Defecography

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​What is MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scan that provides clear and detailed pictures of the body’s organs and tissues.

What is an MRI defecography?

An MRI defecography helps us see how well the muscles in your pelvis are working. These muscles control bowel movements and other functions. This scan can help us understand the cause of your symptoms.​

How Does It Work?

MRI does not use radiation like X-rays and other imaging techniques do. Instead, MRI uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to create sharp pictures. Even different types of tissue in the same organ can be easily seen with MRI.

In most MRI scans, we take 2 or more sets of pictures. Each set takes 2 to 15 minutes. Each one shows a cross-section of the body part.
 

How Do I Prepare?

  • Please tell us if you have any problems with your liver or kidneys, need a liver or kidney transplant, or if you are on dialysis.
  • Because it uses a strong magnetic field used, MRI will pull on any ferromagnetic metal object, such as iron, in the body. This can cause injury in the body and can distort the image.
  • Tell the MRI staff if you have:
    • Aneurysm clips, a heart pacemaker (or artificial heart valve), an implanted port, an infusion catheter (with brand names such as PORT-O-CATH, Infusaport, or LifePort), an intrauterine device (IUD), any metal plates, clips, pins, screws, or surgical staples, a prosthetic hip, or any implanted metal object in your body
    • Tattoos or permanent eyeliner
    • Medicine patches
    • A bullet or shrapnel in your body
    • Ever worked with metal
    • Had any surgeries
For women:
  • Tell staff if you are or may be pregnant.
  • Most times, surgical staples, clips, plates, pins, and screws are not a risk during MRI if they have been in place for more than 4 to 6 weeks. If there is any question about metal fragments in your body, we may do an X-ray to check for them.
  • Remove any items that might affect MRI pictures. These include hairpins, jewelry, glasses, hearing aids, and any removable dental work.

Before Your Scan

  • You will need to hold urine in your bladder for 30 minutes before your scan.
  • Your doctor will talk with you about the scan and answer your questions.
  • Most times, no intravenous (IV) line is needed. No contrast is used for this scan. (Contrast is a dye that is sometimes used in imaging.)
  • You may need to walk to a different area where your MRI scan will be done. This walk will take 2 or 3 minutes.

During the Procedure

  • You will lie on your right side on a sliding table.
Females:
  • Your doctor will insert a catheter (thin, plastic tube) into your rectum and inflate a small balloon at the end of the catheter. The balloon will hold the catheter in place.
  • Your doctor will then inject about 200 mL (less than 1 cup) of gel through the catheter into your rectum. The gel will put pressure on your body parts in that area, and that will make different tissues show up better on the MRI.
  • The doctor will then remove the catheter from your rectum.
  • The doctor will insert a second catheter into your vagina, and then inflate a small balloon at the end of it.
  • A small amount of gel (about 30 mL, or 1 oz) will be injected through this second catheter into your vagina.
  • The doctor will remove the second catheter from your vagina.
  • You may feel some pain or discomfort when the catheters are inserted into your vagina and rectum. Tell your doctor if you are having discomfort.
Males:
  • Your doctor will insert a catheter (thin, plastic tube) into your rectum and inflate a small balloon at the end of the catheter. The balloon will hold the catheter in place.
  • Your doctor will then inject about 200 mL (less than 1 cup) of gel through the catheter into your rectum. The gel will put pressure on your body parts in that area, and that will make different tissues show up better on the MRI.
  • The doctor will then remove the catheter from your rectum.
  • You may feel some pain or discomfort during the insertion in your rectum. Tell your doctor if you are having discomfort.

After the Injection

  • You will need to wear a diaper during the exam to catch any gel that leaks out. The technologist will help you put it on.
  • After moving you inside the MRI unit, the technologist will leave the room and take the MRI pictures.
  • You will be able to talk with the technologist at any time through an intercom. The technologist will also give you instructions through the intercom.
  • Based on how many pictures are needed, the scan usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. A very detailed study may take longer.
  • You will need to hold very still while the pictures are being taken.
  • If your MRI was done in a different area, you will need to walk back to Radiology. You will need to keep the diaper on because the gel will leak out. We will give you a hospital gown and pants to wear

What will I feel during the MRI?

  • MRI is not painful.
  • MRI is done in an enclosed unit. Some patients may feel confined or uneasy (claustrophobic). Please tell the doctor who referred you for the MRI if you are claustrophobic. Your doctor may give you medicine that will help you relax during your exam.
  • You may notice a warm feeling in the area where the pictures are taken. This is normal. If it bothers you, please tell the MRI technologist.
  • You will hear loud tapping or knocking noises during the scan. We will provide earplugs or music to listen to through headphones to block some of these sounds.

Your Results

A radiologist skilled in MRI will review and interpret your MRI images. The radiologist will not talk with you about the results, but will send a report to your primary care or referring doctor. This doctor will give you the results.