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When is an MRI of the Pelvic Recommend?
A Pelvic MRI may be ordered by your physician to get a detailed look at the pelvic organs including the uterus, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. The bladder and rectum are also considered part of the pelvic space. MRI may help evaluate more closely complex ovarian cysts, endometriosis, or vascular uterine fibroids. Your clinician may want to specifically evaluate the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) after an abnormal pelvic ultrasound or endometrial biopsy. Pelvic MRI is also used to evaluate pelvic floor prolapse or urinary incontinence. Sometimes a pelvic MRI is ordered to make a diagnosis for a symptom such as heavy menstrual bleeding or persistent cramping. This high-tech medical diagnostic radiology imaging can give a GYN or surgeon a more detailed map prior to anticipated surgery.
What is a Pelvic MRI?
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI for short) is an advanced imaging technology that uses magnets and radio waves to produce detailed 3-D MRI imaging of the pelvic organs. These signals from the scans are then converted to images for the radiologists to interpret. MRI is commonly performed to distinguish normal tissues from pathologic (abnormal) tissues. MRI is also used as a diagnostic imaging tool to find the reason for a complaint or symptom.
How to Prepare ahead of Time:
You will be asked to complete the medical history of any medical conditions. Please tell the scheduler and the technologist if you have any metal in your body such as metal from trauma or surgery or other procedures that may be an issue for the “magnetic pull” of the MRI.
Tell us if you have had any surgery anywhere on your body including your limbs, abdomen, brain, or heart.
If you have any implanted devices such as pacemakers, defibrillators, aneurysm clips, auditory hearing implants, neurotransmitters, internal wires or electrodes, implanted pumps or ports, surgical mesh, any coils, stents, or filters please tell your technologist before scheduling because an MRI may not be possible. Many cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators are not compatible with MRI. Some of the newer devices are so it is important to know from your surgeon and the manufacturer what kind you have.
Some external body wear or design such as body or face/ makeup tattooing, permanent piercings may limit you from having the MRI. Current or prior metal workers may have small fragments in their eyes as an occupational hazard. You may be asked to have an x-ray prior to performing the MRI. Jewelry and piercings need to be taken out by you for your safety in the magnet. Please see our MRI SAFETY FORM for more information.
How is a Pelvic MRI Performed?
The Women's Imaging Center and your ordering clinician will determine if a pelvic MRI is right for you. We may inject a contrast dye (called Gadolinium) into a vein in your arm. The contrast is taken up differently in different types of tissues to different degrees. It is important to tell the scheduler AND the MRI technologist if you have ever had an allergic reaction to a contrast agent previously. The dye used in MRI is different from that used in CT scans. For most people, this is not an issue.
You will be lying on your back on a comfortable table that moves into and out of the MRI machine. The magnet makes a loud clunky sound so the technologists will fit you with comfortable headphones and you may choose to listen to music through the headphone that makes the magnet sound indistinct. Many patients actually find the MRI scan soothing because of the music and may fall asleep. It is important not to move quickly or jerk during the exam because this may cause irregularities in the images from signals of the magnets moving.
The MRI imaging of the pelvis may take 25 to 40 minutes depending on whether contrast dye needs to be administered or whether special imaging sequences are needed. The complexity of organ imaging may affect the time needed to perform the radiology imaging scan.
How do I Obtain My Results?
Hundreds of images from the pelvic MRI in various sequences will be produced for each study that needs to be interpreted. Therefore, the results will not be immediately available. An MRI specialist or the patient navigator will call you regarding your results once the interpretation is complete. If you have any prior examinations elsewhere, please let us know the location so that we can obtain these for faster comparison. The images from many centers can be transferred to The Women’s Imaging Center quickly. You might have to sign a release form so that we may request this transfer. We will also send a copy of your report to your ordering clinician and they will discuss any further action recommended based on your medical diagnostic imaging results.