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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.

What is an MR proctogram?

MR proctogram is ideal for assessing the pelvic floor function, especially if you have problems in opening your bowels or emptying your bladder. This examination lasts for roughly for 45 minutes and uses a strong magnet called Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). MRI is a tunnel shape 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 we will give headphones to communicate with the radiographer if needed as well as play some music of your choice to help reducing the loud knocking sound that MRI creates.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Prior to the examination please fast for 4 hours.  You can have water or black tea and coffee but no food. We ask you to arrive 30 minutes before the scan so that you can fill the MRI questionnaire and ask any questions you might have.

What happens during my scan?

For MRI proctogram you will be 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 jelly into the rectum which you will need to hold until the radiographer ask you to release after the scan starts. Once you lie flat on the table with knees bent, the radiographer will be giving you instructions 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 MRI scan you will be asked if you are safe to go in the MRI scanner, only then we will proceed. Patients with cardiac pacemakers, surgical implamts such as cochlear implants, have been through operatons within the last six weeks , cannot be scanned. If you are pregnant you can ring us for further information.

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.

At the end of the procedure

The pictures will be studied by the radiologist who will  produce a detailed report and then sent 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.