MR Enterography

MR Enterography uses a magnetic field to create detailed images of the small intestine. Before the exam, oral and intravenous contrast material are administered to highlight the small intestine. 

When are some common uses for MR Enterography?

  • Identify and locate the presence of and complications from Crohn's disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Locate tumors, abscesses and fistulas
  • Detect bowel obstructions
  • Find inflammation

What are the benefits?

  • MRI is an imaging technique that does not require exposure to radiation.
  • MRI can detect abnormalities that might be obscured by bone with other imaging methods.
  • Gadolinium contrast material used during MRI is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than the iodine-based contrast materials.
  • MR Enterography is a complementary imaging examination that helps identify areas of bowel inflammation due to such diseases as Crohn's.
  • Because MR Enterography does not involve ionizing radiation, the procedure may be preferred for the evaluation of young patients with inflammatory bowel disease who may undergo multiple exams throughout their life.
  • MR Enterography may eliminate the need for video capsule endoscopy (VCE).

Are there any risks?

  • Any medical devices implanted into your body may be at risk of malfunction due to the strong magnetic field.
  • In very rare cases, in patients with poor kidney function, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis is a possible complication when contrast is used.
  • Gadolinium-based contrast has a very slight risk of causing an allergic reaction which can usually be easily treated.
  • Pregnant women should consult with their physician prior to an MRI exam. However, there have been no documented negative effects of MRI in the many years of its medical usage, and MRI is often the method of imaging chosen for pregnant women and fetuses. It should be noted that MRI contrast agents are not recommended to be used during pregnancy unless the benefits far outweigh the risks.
  • The ACR states that current information suggests breastfeeding is safe after the use of intravenous contrast. Please discuss your breastfeeding options with your medical provider.

How should I prepare?

  • Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam will vary. You will be informed of any exam preparations required during the scheduling of your exam.
  • Before your MRI exam you will be asked to change into a gown; removing undergarments that may have metal fasteners or fibers.
  • Jewelry and other metal objects can not be worn during the exam. Please try to leave them at home if possible.
  • You must notify the technologist if you have any implanted medical devices or any metal in your body. These can interfere with the exam and can cause harm during an MRI because of the strength of the magnet.
  • Inform the technologist if you are pregnant or suspect you might be pregnant


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