- Abdominal MRI
- Anal MRI
- Female Pelvic MRI
- Prostate MRI
- Rectal MRI
- MR Enterography
Your physician may order an MRI of the prostate gland for a number of indications. This may be performed to look for masses if your PSA levels are elevated.
Prostate MRI may also be done if you are known to have prostate cancer. This exam can detect spread of tumor to other organs or lymph nodes. Prostate MRI can also be used to detect additional lesions which may not have been discovered by biopsy. Prostate MRI can also be useful for monitoring cases of prostate cancer that are followed (“active surveillance”) in patients not undergoing cancer treatments such as anti-cancer medications, radiation or surgery.
MRI of the rectum can be used to evaluate patients with rectal cancer. These studies can help determine the exact location of the tumor and its size. It can also determine if the tumor has spread through the wall of the rectum and if it has extended into the other organs of the pelvis. These findings can help guide whether surgery or chemotherapy and radiation are the best option for you. These tumors may also spread to lymph nodes which can be found by MRI.
Anal MRI can be performed to assess for masses of the anus, and help determine their size and staging. It can also determine whether these tumors have spread to adjacent organs or lymph nodes. Other abnormalities of the anus can be assessed by MRI, such as perianal fistulas. The MRI can help find the path of the fistula and guide the surgeon in their treatment planning.
FEMALE PELVIC MRI
MRI of the female pelvis can be performed for a number of indications. It can be used to evaluate masses which may be felt on examination, or which are seen on other imaging studies such as CT or ultrasound.
Pelvic MRI can also be performed to evaluate abnormalities of the uterus. This could include the evaluate of leiomyomas, also known as fibroids. Your physician may order an MRI in order to plan for procedures such as uterine artery embolization (also known as uterine fibroid embolization).
Pelvic MRI may also be helpful in evaluating cancers of the pelvis, including endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. These studies can help find tumors, evaluate for spread of disease and help guide the clinician in planning possible surgery or radiation therapy.
MRI of the abdomen can be done to evaluate the solid organs of the abdomen for masses including masses of the liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas and adrenal glands. These studies can help determine if any lesions seen are benign or cancerous, and if needed can be used to help in guidance for a possible biopsy. These studies may also be used for surveillance of lesions which may be followed over time rather than undergoing something more invasive like a biopsy or surgery.
In addition to masses, MRI of the pancreas (sometimes with another MRI study called an “MRCP”) can be performed to evaluate for the presence of pancreatitis, possible complications from pancreatitis, and to assess potential causes of pancreatitis.
Another type of abdominal MRI is called an MR enterography, which requires drinking multiple bottles of an oral contrast agent. This results in distention of the small intestine, allowing better visualization of the bowel wall. One of the most common indications for this study is evaluation of inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease. An MRI can help find areas of acute inflammation or chronic inflammation, and can discover certain complications such as strictures or fistulas. Many of these areas are impossible to reach by colonoscopy or upper endoscopy, so MR enterography is very helpful in assessing the small intestine. MR enterography can also be used to assess other abdominal symptoms such as abdominal pain or diarrhea which are unexplained by other lab tests and imaging studies. MR enterography may also be helpful to evaluate for tumors of the intestine, which may be difficult to evaluate by colonoscopy or upper endoscopy.