Rectal MRI

Download/print the Rectal MRI patient information sheet

What is a Rectal MRI?

This MRI exam obtains detailed images of the rectum and any abnormalities that exist in that area.

Where can I schedule this exam?

A Rectal MRI exam can be scheduled at: 

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.

If your exam is at Suburban Imaging – Northwest:

  • Nothing to eat or drink three hours before your exam.

  • Three hours before your appointment time, you will have to use a laxative suppository to clear out any stool from the rectum. The suppository is available free of charge for you to pick up prior to your exam at our Blaine, Coon Rapids, Maple Grove or Northwest locations.

If your exam is at Suburban Imaging – Burnsville or Southdale:

  • Nothing to eat or drink four hours before your exam.

  • Two hours before your appointment time, you will have to use a fleets enema, which may be purchased at any pharmacy.

Additional preps for all locations:

  • Wear comfortable clothes without metal fasteners, including zippers, buttons and snaps.

  • Arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time for registration.

  • Bring your appointment form, insurance card and a valid photo ID.

  • Please let us know if you have an insulin pump or glucose monitor. Our imaging machines may cause your device to malfunction, so it will need to be removed during your exam.

  • Let us know about any of the following:
    1. Allergies, asthma, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease
    2. Any metal in your body
    3. Claustrophobia
    4. Kidney problems
    5. Pregnancy - known or possible
    6. Previous reactions to MRI contrast
    7. Recent chemotherapy (within 30 days)
What happens during my exam?

You will be asked to change into a gown or scrubs. Jewelry, watches, hair clips, piercings and possibly dentures will need to be removed. 

An IV will be started in a vein in your arm. 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. Contrast material will be injected through the IV line that was placed earlier.

Next, you will lie on your side on the cushioned MR scanner table. The technologist will insert a small amount of special gel into your rectum. The gel expands the rectum, which allows for better images to be captured by the scanner.

The technologist will help you move onto your back and the 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 20-30 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.

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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