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Pelvis MRI

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What is Rectal/Pelvic MRI used for?

  • When cancer of the rectum, rectosigmoid or anal canal is diagnosed, MRI can be used to stage the cancer. Staging refers to identifying the extent and site of the tumour. Tumours can grow locally disrupting normal soft tissue planes and can invade adjacent organs. Depending on the extent of the cancer pre-operative chemoradiotherapy may be given. The information from MRI aids the surgeon in planning the surgical method of tumour removal. This is a Medicare rebateable test once in the patient’s lifetime.
  • If a major pelvic vein occlusion (or SVC or IVC occlusion) is suspected, an MRI can be undertaken (Medicare rebateable).
  • Rectal cancer recurrence can be demonstrated with MRI and aids surgical planning (non Medicare rebateable).
  • Inflammation of the anal canal can cause fistulas. This occurs in patients with Crohn’s disease but can also occur sporadically in adults. The high resolution soft tissue contrast capability of MRI means that these, sometimes small, fistula tracts can be seen. This allows the surgeon to plan drainage and surgery.

Cervix/Uterus/Ovary MRI

What is Pelvic MRI in women used for?

  • Staging of histologically diagnosed cervical cancer at FIGO stage 1B or greater (Medicare rebateable once in a patient’s lifetime). Staging of nodes in the abdomen is also Medicare rebateable.
  • To stage endometrial cancer and determine depth of muscle invasion and spread outside the uterus (non-Medicare rebateable).
  • Characterisation of ovarian masses and staging of ovarian cancer (non-Medicare rebateable).
  • Diagnosis and evaluation of extent of endometriosis (non-Medicare rebateable).
  • To evaluate fibroids and other uterine conditions such as adenomyosis.

Bladder MRI:

is useful for assessing depth of involvement of the bladder wall by the tumour (non-Medicare rebateable). This has important implications for treatment choices.

How to prepare for a Pelvic MRI?

Most of these studies require you to have nothing to eat or drink for 5 hours before the MRI. Please check with our staff when booking or confirming your appointment.

What to expect from a Pelvic MRI?

You will be required to have a needle placed in your arm and a drug called buscopan administered to suspend peristalsis or movement of the intestines. This limits image degradation or blur due to movement. Patients with glaucoma and certain heart arrhythmias are not able to receive this drug. Buscopan can cause drowsiness and transient blurred vision and patients should plan to remain at Specialist MRI for 30 minutes following the MRI or attend with a caregiver, who can accompany the patient following the test.

An injection of IV contrast (gadolinium) may also be given in the same needle.

Allow about one hour for the examination.

Prostate MRI is used to:

  • Help identify an area suspicious for cancer pre biopsy or in patients who may have had a negative biopsy.
  • Stage a known cancer. The prostate is enclosed by a capsule. Spread beyond the capsule or into the seminal vesicle is well depicted on MRI and has implications for the type of treatment chosen.
  • Identify local cancer recurrence post prostatectomy or post radiotherapy in a patient with a rising PSA.

At Specialist MRI Multiparametric Prostate MRI is performed. This refers to the combination of anatomical and functional sequences. At SMRI, an endorectal coil (an imaging device is placed in the rectum close to the prostate) is used for the highest resolution possible. T2 weighted sequences, diffusion weighted imaging and post contrast dynamic imaging of the prostate are obtained to optimise diagnostic accuracy. Prostate MRI is a non-Medicare rebateable test.

How to prepare for a Prostate MRI?

Preparation instructions will be mailed to you prior to your appointment. We will ask you to have a clear liquid diet for the 24 hours prior to your examination. Clear liquids include soup, jelly, tea or coffee, with no milk. This helps to prepare your bowel prior to placement of the endorectal coil. Also, you will be required to have nothing to eat or drink for 5 hours before the MRI.

If you have had a recent prostate biopsy, then MRI takes place between 6-8 weeks following the biopsy. Performing MRI earlier may be suboptimal due to bleeding within the prostate due to biopsy. Haemorrhage can alter the MRI signal such that the tumour is not apparent.

We will ask you about your PSA level and your Gleason biopsy result as these tell us about your tumour.

Treatments such as hormones, chemotherapy or radiotherapy cause changes in the normal tissues of the prostate, and the tumour cannot be seen separately in the gland. Therefore MRI is usually performed before commencement of therapy.

However, if you have been on treatment, please tell us, as this will alter the way the radiologist interprets your MRI.

What to expect from a Prostate MRI?

An endorectal coil is used. This is an imaging device which is placed within your rectum by a Radiologist in the same way that your Urologist does a prostate digital examination. This device is used to obtain high resolution images which are best obtained when the device is closest to the prostate gland.

Some patients may have a history of bleeding or inflammation of the rectum such as Crohn’s disease, or have had previous rectal surgery. In these instances, an endorectal coil may not be used and imaging will be done with a surface coil or imaging device placed on the skin surface overlying your pelvis.

You will be required to have a needle placed in your arm and a drug called buscopan administered to suspend peristalsis or movement of the intestines. This limits image degradation or blur due to movement. Patients with glaucoma and certain heart arrhythmias are not able to receive this drug. Buscopan can cause drowsiness and transient blurred vision and patients should plan to remain at Specialist MRI for 30 minutes following the MRI or attend with a caregiver, who can accompany the patient following the test. An injection of IV contrast (gadolinium) may also be given in the same needle.

What is Fetal MRI used for?

  • To obtain more information regarding a structural abnormality in the fetus that has been identified on ultrasound. This includes imaging of the fetal brain, chest or abdomen (non-Medicare rebateable).
  • To obtain information about the placenta, late in the pregnancy, to plan the delivery (non-Medicare rebateable).

How to prepare for a fetal MRI?

Most of these studies require you to have nothing to eat or drink for 5 hours before the MRI. Please check with our staff when booking or confirming your appointment.

What to expect during a Fetal MRI?

In women in the second and third trimester, fetal MRI poses no established risk to the fetus and MRI is considered safe.

MRI uses no ionising radiation.