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Women's Imaging

Pelvic MRI 

How is it preformed:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is one of the most accurate ways to examine the soft tissue areas of the body. It is a safe, painless and comfortable procedure that uses no ionizing radiation (X-rays). Instead MRI combines computer technology with magnetism and radio waves to create multiple pictures of the inside of the body. An injection of a contrast agent may be necessary to better visualize specific anatomical structures. If this is the case, a simple injection will be given. After these images are processed, they are interpreted by a board certified MRI Radiologist, trained at major academic medical centers. The MRI Center at Beverly Hospital at Danvers, Medical and Day Surgery Center, offers a 3.0 Tesla MRI unit, the most advanced clinical MRI technology available today. The 3T scanner is especially well-suited for detection and characterization of abnormalities in the female pelvis, in patients presenting with pelvic pain, pelvic mass, and/or abnormal bleeding, when ultrasound findings are either indeterminate or non-diagnostic.

Benefits:

Abnormal uterine bleeding: Compared to ultrasound, MRI can provide more precise anatomical detail, such as size and location of uterine fibroids, a common cause of bleeding. In women who opt for fibroid embolization, an MRI study is useful pre and post procedure, for planning and to access response to therapy. MRI can also differentiate fibroids from adenomyosis, which may also cause bleeding and pain.

Ovarian lesions and endometriosis: MRI is useful as a follow-up study to charactise endometriosis within the ovary, and the presence and extent of endometriosis overall, as a cause of pelvic pain and infertility. Preoperative assessment of deep pelvic endometriosis and/or infiltrating endometriotic lesions helps guide surgical strategy.

Pelvic mass of indeterminate origin: Because of ultrasound's small field of view, MRI is often better at localizing and characterizing a lesion or pelvic mass of uncertain origin (uterus, fallopian tube, ovary or elsewhere). Both ultrasound and MRI can depict gynecologic organs, but only MRI can discern bowel, bones and soft tissue in relation to other structures. The 3T magnet offers exceptional tissue resolution, and the ability to differentiate among fat, blood, other soft tissue and edema.

Suspected tumor and staging: Whether cervix, endometrium or ovary, MRI can help confirm tumor presence, benign or malignant; stage malignancies and differentiateamong conditions that may mimic an ovarian mass, such as peritoneal inclusion cysts and hydrosalpinx.

Anomalies of the uterine cavity: The outside contour of the uterus is not really identifiable with ultrasound. Thus MRI is the study of choice to characterize congenital anomalies of the uterus, which can affect fertility.

Pain in an acute setting: In women with acute abdominal pain, and normal ultrasound, an MRI study can help detect conditions such as ovarian torsion or ovarian vein thrombosis.

Post-menopausal urinary and/or fecal incontinence: Dynamic pelvic floor MRI studies can determine the presence or absence of cystoceles, vaginoceles and rectoceles, stage the pathology, and guide appropriate surgical management. A static high-resolution MRI pelvic floor examination can also access inflammatory bowel disease, and anal and rectal fistulas, to delineate anatomy for preoperative mapping.

How do I prepare:

No special preparation is necessary. On the day of your exam you may eat and drink normally, engage in your regular activities, and take your usual prescribed medications, unless you have been instructed otherwise.

Our scheduling staff will inform you when to arrive prior to your scheduled appointment to allow time for a brief interview with a technologist who will ask about your medical history. This screening process is an important safety precaution, so please be patient if we ask the same questions more than once.

During the scheduling of your exam, our staff will ask if you have any implanted devices inside your body such as pacemakers, aneurysm clips and stents. Please have as much information about these devices available as possible.

What should I expect:

Before entering the exam room, you will be asked to remove metal objects, such as eyeglasses, dentures, body piercings, rings or hairpins. Dental fillings, hip replacements, knee replacements and contact lenses are acceptable. We will also ask you to change into comfortable examination clothing to ensure that you are not wearing any metallic components (zippers, metal buttons, etc.). You will be able to leave all those items in your own personal locker.

A technologist will help position you on a padded table that will slide into a scanner, which is open at both ends. A special apparatus will be placed around your pelvis to better focus the images.

You will notice knocking or humming noises when the scan is underway. This is the sound of the magnetic field being adjusted to generate information about the area being scanned. The exam lasts about 30-60 minutes.

After your scan is complete, you will change and collect your personal belongings. Before you leave, we will give you a CD of your MRI images. Your physician will receive your results on the business day following your scan. Since there are no after-effects with MRI, you may resume your normal activities immediately. If you have taken any medication for anxiety, however, you will need a ride home.