MRI Enterography is an examination that takes images of the small bowel.

When you arrive for your MRI examination, you will be asked to fill out a safety questionnaire.

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

Once your small bowel has been filled with the water/laxative fluid, you will be taken through for the actual MRI scan. A small needle (intravenous cannula) will be placed in your arm to administer a muscle relaxant (buscopan) and a contrast dye (Gadolinium).

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.

Buscopan relaxes the muscles of your bowel for about 15 minutes which ensures better imaging of your small bowel. Towards the end of the examination, the contrast dye (Gadolinium) is administered that enables our Doctors to better visualise the blood flow to the small bowel.

Risks / Side Effects

The mixture of water and sorbitol may induce diarrhoea which may last for the rest of the day. It is advisable to have the rest of the day off of work. 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.

Before your Scan

When making the appointment, you will be instructed to fast from food and water for 6 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 hour before you are due on the MRI scanner. During this time we will be preparing you for the examination.


In total the examination will take about 1 ½ hours including the preparation time. The actual MRI scan will be around 30 minutes.