Enterography is an examination that takes images of the small bowel. It may be done in either a CT or MR scanner.


You will be given some water (approximately 1.5L) with a mild laxative in it which needs to be taken before the scan. This will occur gradually under supervision for 1 hour and provides a way to better visualise your small bowel.

Once your small bowel has been filled with the water/laxative fluid, you will be taken through to the scanner. A small needle (intravenous cannula) will be placed in your arm to administer a muscle relaxant (Buscopan) and a contrast dye. This is iodine based in CT and Gadolinium in MRI.

In CT you will lie on your back in the scanner. The contrast will be injected and the scan will be done within 5 minutes.

In MRI you will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your abdomen and pelvis. This area needs to be in the centre of the magnet and you will usually go into the magnet head first.   You will be given headphones and a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time. Towards the end of the examination, the contrast dye (Gadolinium) is administered that enables our Doctors to better visualize the blood flow to the small bowel. The scan time is approximately 30 minutes.

Risks / Side Effects

The mix of water and sorbitol may induce diarrhoea. Possible side effects of Buscopan include dry mouth, blurred vision, itchiness, drowsiness and increased pulse rate. If you experience any of these they should pass quickly. Rarely it can cause an inability to pass urine. In patients with untreated or unknown glaucoma it may precipitate a red swollen eye. If you experience increasing pain in the eye or deteriorating sight please go to an emergency department.

If X-ray contrast is administered there is a small risk of allergic reaction. This includes flushing, hives and difficulty breathing. Severe reactions are rare and life-threatening reaction extremely rare (1 in 170,000).

Before your Scan

You will need to fast from food and water for 4 hours prior to your appointment. This will ensure the small bowel will be emptied for the examination. You will be asked to arrive to your appointment 1 ¼ hours before you are due on the scanner. During this time we will be preparing you for the examination.  When you arrive for your examination, you will be asked to fill out either a CT contrast consent form or an MRI safety questionnaire.


The scan time is approximately 30 minutes.