Your healthcare provider has recommended you for MR Enterography (MRE), which is a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), performed with a contrast material to produce detailed images of the small intestine. Our team of sub-specialized physicians in Boise utilizes MR Enterography to identify, locate and characterize various disease processes and conditions such as:
- The presence and severity of (including possible complications) Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD)
- Inflammation (infections, vasculitis, radiation changes, etc.)
- Bleeding sources and vascular abnormalities
- Abscesses and fistulas
- Bowel obstructions
This exam does not use any radiation, but does involve:
- Drinking fluid to distend the small bowel and better visualize the intestinal lining (mucosa) and filling defects (polyps, tumors, etc.)
- An injection of a contrast material called gadolinium, which makes the blood vessels more visible and demonstrates enhancement patterns of the bowel wall. (Gadolinium is less likely to cause an allergic reaction than iodinated contrast material.)
- Includes both IV (intravenous) and IM (intramuscular) injections of glucagon to relax the small bowel (by reducing contractions to improve visualizing the small bowel and any possible associated abnormalities)
Before Arriving for Your Exam
We encourage patients to utilize the IMI online registration option where you will be able to complete the MRI Screening Questionnaire and the MRI and Pregnancy form (if applicable). This will help speed up your registration process once you come to one of our offices in Boise or Meridian.
If you are claustrophobic (fearful of small, enclosed areas) or experience pain when lying on your back for more than 30 minutes, your referring physician may prescribe a relaxant or pain medication to help you through the exam. Please let the IMI Team know of any concerns upon scheduling your appointment, so we can make certain you have what you need to complete your exam successfully.
We don’t anticipate a long wait time, however, we want to make any waiting time as pleasant as possible. Consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music with headphones to help you pass the time.
- You should not eat or drink anything for 6 hours before your exam start time
- Unless you are told otherwise, take your regular medications as usual.
- Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.
- You will be asked to wear scrubs during the exam.
Please tell the technologist, radiology nurse and/or radiologist of any allergies you may have and if you are pregnant or nursing.
You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire which will determine if an MRI is safe for you. People with various implants (usually metallic), body piercings or with metal in their bodies (including some tattoos) may have difficulty with an MRI – which utilizes a strong magnetic field. The imaging physician needs to be informed of any of these potential problems.
You will be asked questions that verify the MRI contrast (gadolinium) is safe for you. If you have had a history of kidney disease, we may require a blood test to ensure that you can safely be given gadolinium.
You will also be given glucagon during your exam to slow down your normal bowel movements. Glucagon can worsen glaucoma, some heart rhythm disturbances, and can cause difficulty urinating if you have prostate disease. Be certain to tell your technologist in you have any of the above conditions.
Prior to your procedure, you will be instructed to drink a thin barium fluid called Volumen to distend your bowel.
During the Exam
An MRI machine consists of a large cylinder-shaped tube with a moveable table that slides into the center of the machine. For this exam, you will be asked to lie down on the scanning table, head-first with arms at your side. An IV will be placed in your arm. Glucagon will be administered through your IV in order to relax your small intestine.
Coils (special devices to improve image quality) may be placed on or around your abdomen like a blanket. The scanning table will slide your whole body into the magnet. During the scan, you will not feel anything but will hear intermittent humming, thumping, clicking and knocking sounds. Headphones will be provided to help mask the noise and to allow you to listen to music.
This exam requires the use of a contrast agent to improve the quality of the images. The contrast agent (gadolinium) is injected into a vein in the arm, which may cause a cool sensation. As your images are taken, you must hold very still, in some cases, you will be asked to hold your breath. The technologist is always able to see and hear you during the exam.
After Your Exam
There are no restrictions placed upon you. You may eat or drive as normal. Your images will be examined by a radiologist in the Treasure Valley and their report will be sent to your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will review the results with you.