What is a MRI of the Small Bowel

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is an imaging tool that uses a power magnetic field and radiofrequency to scan the small bowel. The MRI scan will assist in the diagnosis and treatment of your child’s symptoms. It is harmless and does not contain radiation.

Below are the frequently asked questions about having an MRI scan of the small bowel:


Why it is needed?

MRI of the small bowel allows a detailed examination of the integrity of the small bowel. This is usually carried out for patients with suspected inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease can affect the whole digestive tract from mouth to anus including the small bowel. Children with suspected Crohn’s disease will need a gastroscopy and colonoscopy. The gastroscopy allows the doctor to only view the beginning of the small bowel. Whereas, the colonoscopy only gives a view of the end of the small bowel. As a result of this, the entire small bowel is not viewed. One way to get a complete view of the small bowel is to perform an MRI.


What preparation do I need and what happens on the day of the scan?

Your child will need to be on low residue diet 24 hours prior to exam and clear fluids on the day of their procedure. Please arrive to the hospital 1 hour prior to scan time. During that hour your child will be required to drink a specific liquid. The paediatric nurse will insert a cannula into a vein so that other contrast liquid or medicine can be given if necessary.


During the MRI Scan

Your child will be asked to lie on their front for the scan if possible. The radiographer will rest a coil over their abdomen – this helps sharpen up the MRI images. When your child is in the correct position, the radiographer will move the bed inside the scanner and then go into the control room. Your child will need to lie very still for the scan and may be asked to hold their breath a few times. When the scan has finished, the radiographer will move the bed out of the scanner.


Is there any risk?

The MRI of the small bowel is generally safe and well tolerated. There is a possibility of an allergic reaction to the contrast. The team has the facilities to deal with an allergic reaction.


Our clinics in Horley and Dorking, Surrey, and Wimbledon, London are perfectly located to see patients from all nearby areas including Reigate, Chichester, Banstead, Dorking, Epsom, Guildford, Redhill, Southampton, Portsmouth, Royal Tunbridge Wells, and Epsom, Croydon, Leatherhead, Kingston-upon-Thames, Tonbridge, Maidstone, Kensington, Hammersmith, Twickenham, Camden Town, Wandsworth, and all nearby areas.