MR Enterography

Download/print the MR Enterography patient information sheet

What is an MR Enterography?

MR Enterography is an MRI exam primarily used to image the small bowel and to a lesser extent, the large bowel. It is performed to detect Crohn’s disease and assess the extent, if present. Other small bowel disorders can also be evaluated. If an abnormality is detected, important information such as the type of abnormality, location and severity can be further characterized.

How should I prepare for my exam?

MRI uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to make detailed pictures; please review our MRI metal safety checklist.

  • You will have a clear liquid diet for 12 hours (no caffeine) prior to your exam. Approved clear liquids include:
    • Water
    • Clear broth / bouillon
    • Gatorade®
    • Pedialyte®
    • Kool-Aid® or other fruit-flavored drinks
    • Powdered drinks (Crystal Light®)
    • Strained fruit juices (no orange juice)
    • Jell-o®
    • Popsicles®
    • Hard candy
  • NO COFFEE AND NO SODA POP -- NO CAFFEINE 12 hours prior to your exam.

  • Arrive 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to your exam time to drink special contrast material in timed intervals.

  • Let us know about any of the following:
    • Allergies, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease
    • Any metal in your body
    • Claustrophobia
    • Kidney problems
    • Pregnancy - known or possible
    • Previous reactions to MRI contrast
    • Recent chemotherapy (within 30 days)

MR enterography

What happens during my exam?

An IV will be started in your arm. You will be asked to drink an oral contrast material (VoLumen) in timed intervals followed by two glasses of water. The VoLumen improves visualization of the small bowel. You will also be given two small pills to dissolve under your tongue; this medication, called Levsin, reduces the movement of the bowel so it can be imaged more clearly. You will be asked to use the restroom to empty your bladder before the exam begins.

For the exam, you will be brought to the MRI exam room. You will have to leave all personal items in a secure locker outside of the MRI room. The technologist will give you headphones so you can listen to music during the exam.

Next you will be positioned on your stomach on a cushioned MR scanner table with your arms resting above your head. Contrast material will be injected through the IV line that was placed earlier. The scanner table will move slowly into position. For the best possible images, you will need to be as still as possible during the exam, which takes approximately 20 minutes. You may hear a drumming sound as the machine captures the images. You will be asked to hold your breath several times for 20-30 seconds while the images are captured.

The imaging technologist will be outside of the room and is immediately available at all times. You will have a button in your hand to call for assistance, if needed. You will be in full view of the technologist by means of a window and video camera.

What happens after my exam?

You will be helped off the scanner table and your IV will be removed. You may resume regular activities immediately after your exam. We recommend that you have a snack/meal as soon as possible since it will have been a considerable amount of time since you have eaten solid food.

Some patients experience loose stools after the exam. This is normal and is a result of the VoLumen.

Your images will be interpreted by a board-certified radiologist and the findings will be sent to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will contact you to discuss the results.

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