MRI of the female pelvis is a non-invasive examination that obtains high resolution images accessing the internal structures of the female pelvis.
You will lie in the scanner with a special coil over your pelvis, which needs to be in the centre of the magnet. Usually, you will go into the magnet feet-first. For many patients, your head will be outside of the scanner.
During the scan, you will need to be as still as possible. If you experience claustrophobia (fear of small places), please discuss this with us before your scan. If sedation (medication to relax you) is required, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.
MRI scanners make a loud knocking sound while the images are developed. To reduce the impact of the noise, you will be offered headphones or earplugs. You will also be offered a buzzer to press if you want to talk to the technologist at any time during the scan.
Gynaecological MRI involves the use of a muscle relaxant (Buscopan). This is administered through a needle placed in your arm muscles like a vaccination (intramuscular). On some occasions, a contrast dye (Gadolinium) may be required. If this is required, the technologist will explain the process. The contrast dye will be administered through a small needle (intravenous cannula) that will be placed in an arm vein.
Risks / Side Effects
As part of the MRI examination, you may need to have an injection of a contrast agent (dye) known as Gadolinium. This medication is administered intravenously (injection into vein) through a needle. Overall MRI contrast injection is a safe procedure. Occasionally patients feel a little nauseous but this only lasts momentarily. More serious allergic type reactions, although possible, are extremely rare. The staff in the MRI department are fully trained to deal with such a reaction should it occur.
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 cause a red, swollen eye. If you experience pain in the eye or deteriorating vision, 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. If your doctor is looking for adenomyosis you will be given an appointment in the second half of your menstrual cycle (>day 14) to ensure an optimal examination.
Because MRI uses large and strong magnets to create images, it is important that jewellery such as watches, chains, earrings and other metallic items such as eye-glasses are removed before the scan. You may also be asked to change into an examination gown for your safety and to make sure your clothing does not affect the images and diagnostic quality of the scan.
Gynaecological MRI takes 30 minutes.
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