MRI Scan: Small Bowel Study – 19.01.17

So, last week I was at the hospital for a routine test; a Small Bowel MRI Study.

My surgeon is using this procedure to finalise the plans for whether or not I continue to receive my Vedolizumab treatment, as my Crohn’s has gone into possible remission.

I’ve had a couple of these MRIs before; all pre surgery and without my ostomy. I was hesitate, anxious and nervous for the following reasons:

  1. The last time I had one, I had a NG tube down, I was 10 days away from ostomy surgery, had spent an awful weekend on our gastro ward and knew my colon was in terrible, horrible shape. I was in no state or mood for a scan.
  2. I despise the prep we have to do for a small bowel study. It’s a mixture of Klean Prep – also known as devil juice – and helps the dye they inject you with whilst in the scanner fluoresce so they can see strictures and abscesses. It tastes like dishwater and no matter how much you flavour it, that never goes away. Then there is the volume of it. Just, yuck.
  3. I know full well it dehydrates me. This was going to be a lot worse with an ostomy.
  4. I knew I had to explain “no colon no prep” my surgeon assured me of.

My scan wasn’t for a full hour after my appointment time – enough time to do the prep, change and get a vein for my cannula – but I had to go into detail about what I had been told and what exactly was I expected to do. It turned out that because I still have the majority of my small bowel, I had to do prep. Some, not the full volume which worked out at about four cups worth. Knowing full well that even this amount would flush my digestive system out quicker, I had to drink and then empty my bag a couple times before going in the scanner. They did manage to get my cannula in first time, into my damaged elbow crease actually, I was rather impressed!

The scan is in a very loud machine. Its like being in a massive washing machine and its a constant ticking sound. Once the scan starts and they are taking images, its about holding your breath and it then beeps, at different intervals and at different levels of noise. It’s unpleasant but not hateful. I’ve had so many its just really relaxing to me.

I had to be on my back due to my bag, but they gave me a headset, a buzzer for any problems, put a weight over my abdomen so I didn’t move and hooked me up to the injector for the contrast dye.

After about 15 minutes of the first round of images, they tell me the dye is being injected and they’ll do another round of images. I can feel the dye run into my vein through the cannula, up my arm making me going slightly lightheaded but really wanting to pee; all of which is normal. There was another 10 minutes of images and then I am taken out of the scanner. I get unhooked from the injector, my cannula removed in one quick move and I’m allowed to go and get changed.

Being the medical nosey geek I am; I ask the radiographer about the test. Why does the machine make different noises? She explains that the louder and further apart noises are of them taking images in bigger chunks; where as the closer together the beeps, the more thin the segments of the images are. At the end of the scan, they do several ones where it is all vibrating which is them activating the water molecules in my body and seeing how they react to the dye. It’s pretty cool and I really wish I could see the scan when it has been reported on.

The most interesting part is seeing how my body now copes with this scan and its after effects. It’s about an hour from the MRI department to my house via the train. And by the time I got home my bag was extremely full. It makes me angry at the lack of good toilets on trains and their stations! And the after effects were a very watery output for approx. two hours after. This meant emptying my ostomy every 30 minutes because it was filling so fast.

One VERY full bag! It’s pulled down so much it wrinkles!

I am hopeful that this scan shows my surgeon what he suspects and nothing too sinister –  my last couple have shown my strictures, the disease spreading into my terminal ileum in 2013 and its what got me off Humira in 2012 too.

Results are due back on February 6th when I’m back to see my surgeon.


Related links:

Polyps and Prep – MRI scan 26.03.13

Oh, the fickle nature of my life – MRI and GI clinic 17.01.12

After all this time – MRI Scan 03.04.13

MRI Update – 13.02.12

Scans – 30.12.11


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