Gynecologic Pelvic MRI
Most patients having MRI for gyncecologic pathology will receive an injection of intramuscular glucagon prior to imaging. This is a natural hormone known to slow bowel peristalsis and thus diminish MRI artifacts.
Cervical Cancer Imaging
MR can provide information about the extent of the cervical cancer to determine whether surgical treatment or radiation therapy is best. MR can provide information such as:
- Size and location of the cervical tumor
- Presence or absence of tumor spread into or beyond the cervical margins
- Presence of tumor spread to surrounding lymph nodes or ureters
MR imaging of the ovaries is often performed after another imaging study, usually CT or ultrasound, identifies but cannot adequately characterize an ovarian lesion. MR can detect and characterize many types of ovarian pathology that can be treated conservatively or with laparoscopy, including:
- Chocolate cysts of endometriosis
- Ovarian dermoid cysts
- Corpus luteum cysts
- Benign fibrous or smooth muscle tumors of the ovary
- Characterization and staging of ovarian cancers
MRI of the uterus is useful for evaluating a number of conditions, including:
- Uterine enlargement
- Fibroids and other uterine masses, often for preoperative/preprocedure planning
- Abnormal bleeding or endometrial abnormality
Nongynecologic Pelvic MRI
Anal Canal / Anal Fistula Imaging
Anal fistulas and perianal abscesses can be most comprehensively and accurately examined using MRI. This procedure does not require any oral or rectal contrast, but typically employs images with intravenous gadolinium.
MRI can be used to evaluate bladder tumors for staging purposes, including:
- Size and location of the tumor
- Presence or absence of the tumor into or beyond the bladder wall
- Presence of tumor spreading to other sites
Pelvic MRA (MR angiography)
Pelvis MRA can be used to assess for blood clots or obstruction of gonadal (ovarian or testicular) or iliac veins. It is also used to study arteries for blockages. Imaging can be extended to involve the lower extremities as part of a “runoff” MRA procedure, typically used in patients with claudication (leg pain of a vascular nature).
Most MR studies of the prostate are performed on men who have documented prostate cancer. MR can stage a known cancer that may help determine optimal therapies. In some cases, MRI of the prostate can be used to find prostate cancer in patients at high risk or with negative biopsies, or to evaluate prostatic infection. An MR of the prostate includes:
- Size and location of a prostate tumor
- Volume of the entire prostate gland
- Presence or absence of tumor spread beyond the prostate
- Presence of tumor spread to surrounding lymph nodes or bones
Rectal Cancer Imaging
MRI can be useful in staging rectal masses. Rectal mass size, involvement of adjacent fat and organs, and lymph nodes will be assessed. Most patients having MRI for rectal cancer staging will receive an injection of intramuscular glucagon prior to imaging. This is a natural hormone known to slow bowel peristalsis and thus diminish MRI artifacts. Two syringes of inert gel will be placed by the radiologist into the patient’s rectum via syringe just before imaging.
Radiologyinfo.org for Patients
The radiology information resource for patients. RadiologyInfo.org tells you how various X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, radiation therapy and other procedures are performed. It also addresses what you may experience and how to prepare for the exams. The website contains over 200 procedure, exam and disease descriptions covering diagnostic and interventional radiology, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and radiation safety and is updated frequently with new information. All material on the RadiologyInfo.org website is reviewed and approved by experts in the field of radiology from the ACR and RSNA, as well as other professional radiology organizations.