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MRI Proctogram – Patient Information

This page aims to answer some of the questions you may have about having an MRI Proctogram. It explains what you need to do to prepare for the scan, what you can expect when you come to hospital and what happens after. If you have any further questions please speak to your consultant or the imaging department.

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What is an MRI proctogram?

An MRI proctogram is ideal for assessing the pelvic floor function, especially if you have problems opening your bowels or emptying your bladder. This examination lasts for roughly 45 minutes and uses a strong magnet called Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI is a tunnel shaped machine which produces 3D pictures without the use of radiation. We examine the way the rectum empties and how the muscles of the pelvis and bladder move when you pass faeces (open your bowels).

Throughout the MRI examination you will be provided with earplugs and headphones and music to be played at your choice. This will protect your hearing and soften the sound of the scanner.

What do I need to do to prepare?

We ask you to arrive 30 minutes before the scan so that you can fill out the MRI questionnaire and ask any questions you might have.

Asking for your consent

The radiographer will ask you if you are happy for the scan to go ahead (verbal consent) and may only involve the radiographer checking that you are booked for the correct scan. If you do not wish to have the scan or are undecided, please tell the radiographer. It is your decision and you can change your mind at any time. Please remember to ask the radiographer any questions you have at any time.

What happens during my scan?

You will be given a small fleet enema.

This involves a radiographer or you, if you prefer, putting 100ml of fluid into your bottom. The fleet will cleanse the lower part of your bowel. This may be uncomfortable but should not be painful. For the next 10 minutes after the enema administration you will need to lie on your side and you might be using the toilet more than usual. In the MRI room the radiographer will insert 180ml of water soluble gel into the rectum. The radiographer will ask you to hold the jelly in your bottom and then ask you to release it at the correct time after the scan begins.

As you lie flat on the table with knees bent, the radiographer will instruct you to push out the jelly slowly, like when you are opening your bowels.

At the end of the scan you may change and leave when you are ready. The pictures taken during the scan are carefully studied by the radiologist who will produce a detailed report.

You may eat and drink as normal following your scan.

What are the risks/side effects?

Prior to the MRI proctogram you will be asked if you are safe to go in the MRI scanner, only then we will proceed.

Please contact the Imaging department before your scan if you have: cardiac pacemaker, surgical implant, aneurysm clips or are pregnant, as you may not be able to have an MRI scan.

This procedure might be uncomfortable during insertion of the rectal gel but it should not be painful. The most common side effect from the fleet enema is diarrhoea. Very rarely (less than one out of 10,000) patients report abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, anal itching, blistering or dehydration.

If these symptoms persist please contact your GP or local Emergency Department (A&E). At the end of the procedure, the pictures will be studied by the radiologist who will produce a detailed report and then send results to the doctor who referred you for the test. If you would like a copy of your scan we can give you a CD without the report on the day for your own record.

Contact us

Please contact the Imaging team about any general concerns on 0207 467 4317. However, if you experience any symptoms of concern please contact your GP or go to your local Emergency Department (A&E).

Your comments and concerns

If you have any questions or concerns about your medicines, please speak to the staff caring for you. For support or advice please speak to your consultant or the Imaging department on 0207 467 4317.

Language and accessible support services

If you need an interpreter or information about your care in a different language or format, please get in touch.