MRI of the pelvis in women: what the research shows?


  • Indications for magnetic resonance imaging of the pelvis
  • Indications for imaging with contrast
  • How is the study?
  • Contraindications to MRI
  • Rules for the preparation of the study
  • Conclusion
  • In women the reproductive organs are inside the pelvis and inaccessible to visual inspection and palpation. Diagnosis of diseases of the genitourinary system that usually require imaging studies, an important role among them is an MRI of the pelvic organs.

    In the pelvis in women are the organs of different body systems:

    • The result of MRI is not affected by the degree of filling of the bladder, which is necessary for the ultrasound. This factor is important for patients with urinary bladder dysfunction and incontinence.
    • MRI allows you to examine girls and women, not having sex, as it does not require transvaginal examination.
    • Ultrasound reveals no disease of the rectum, as well as inspection is not available the urethra and vagina.

    The ultrasound procedure has the advantage that the opportunity to evaluate the course of pregnancy and the intrauterine state of the fetus. The child in the womb is in constant motion, it flips, flexes arms and legs. Magnetic resonance imaging is held in a fixed position, therefore, to evaluate the condition of the fetus, this type of diagnosis does not apply.

    MRI can be assigned to a pregnant woman, but only to diagnose problems with her reproductive system, with the threat of miscarriage, and is also carried out to determine the position of the fetus before birth.

    MRI has no adverse effect on fetal development because it has no radiation exposure. Its principle is based on registration of the electronic potential of the tissues under the action of electromagnetic field. Electromagnetic field for humans, including pregnant women and children, it is safe even if used frequently.

    In comparison with computed tomography (CT)

    X-ray diagnostic techniques, which include CT inferior to MRI in visualizing soft tissues. Despite the fact that modern CT scanners have a high resolution comparable to MRI, their use remains limited due to high radiation load. CT is completely contraindicated for pregnant women.

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    Indications for magnetic resonance imaging of the pelvis

    • Cancer processes. Allows you to set the exact dimensions of the tumor, its position in the source organ (inside wall, outside), and invasion to other organs and fatty tissue, metastasis in the lymph nodes. On the basis of this method is to produce the basic tactics of treatment of identified pathology.
    • The endometriosis. The disease is accompanied by the growth of the mucous layer of the uterus (endometrium) outside the normal location in the muscle layer of the uterus, ovaries, intestines. This disease is accompanied by development of hemorrhages in affected organs and the development of inflammatory processes in them. To determine the stage of endometriosis, as well as the dissemination of the process.
    • Ovarian cysts. To determine the size of an ovarian cyst, and also to differentiate her from the Mature follicle or cavity forms of cancer process.
    • Diseases of the sacral and coccygeal spine.
    • Malformations of the genital and urinary systems.
    • Injuries of the pelvic organs.

    Indications for imaging with contrast

    In difficult diagnostic cases, shown MRI using contrast agents (gadolinium-based). The drug is administered intravenously or drip. According to the blood vessels, a contrast agent can more accurately diagnose the pathological process.

    Shows contrast study cancer processes, for the diagnosis of metastasis and accurate localization of the process and the indication is vascular pathology (thrombosis and thrombophlebitis of the pelvic vessels).

    How is the study?

    A study performed using magnetic resonance imaging, which is a sealed capsule, inside of which is placed the person on a couch, creating around it an electromagnetic field.

    By registering the responses of electrical pulses of hydrogen from the tissues of the body, the device creates a sequential scans of the studied organs in transverse and longitudinal section.

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    The procedure is completely painless, non-invasive, lasts about thirty to forty minutes. All the time of the study, the patient must be in supine position, motionless.

    If the procedure is performed with contrast, before its beginning, the woman is administered a contrast agent in a cubital vein. For intravenous injection of contrast into the lumen of the vein set catheter that will provide a slow (drip) administration of the drug.

    Contraindications to MRI

    • The presence of external and internal metallic structures, such as the apparatus Elizarova, a metal clip on the blood vessels of the brain, internal prosthesis of the auditory analyzer.
    • Electronic implanted device (artificial pacemaker).
    • Tattoo.
    • Acute mental disorder.
    • Claustrophobic.
    • Severe somatic state, not allowing the patient to stay within forty minutes still.
    • Weight more than 130 kg.

    Metal prostheses made of inert alloys, such as titanium, are not a contraindication, so MRI of the pelvic organs can be performed in the presence of dentures and implants, and joint prostheses.

    The only limitation is that the prosthesis of the hip joint, which will cause the distortion of the electromagnetic fields that would affect the outcome, given the close anatomical location of the pelvis.

    The problems of claustrophobia and excess weight can be solved using the apparatus with the open side surfaces.

    Rules for the preparation of the study

    If necessary, MRI can be performed without special training. But if the procedure is scheduled in advance, it must be remembered that to prevent the inspection of the pelvic organs can gases in the intestines. So to prepare for the procedure you need three days: it is better to follow a diet that restricts the intake of bakery products, legumes, dairy products, beer, carbonated beverages, and vegetables.

    The day before, if the test is scheduled for the morning, it is better to cancel later than seven o’clock in the evening. If MRI is planned in the second half of the day, no later than five hours prior to the study, you can eat a light Breakfast.

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    It is better to conduct the research after emptying the rectum, but taking laxatives as preparation is not recommended, as in some diseases of the small pelvis may be a mechanical obstacle to defecation. In this case, laxatives will only hinder the inspection, increasing the volume of rectal fluid.

    Unlike ultrasound, a full bladder for the procedure is not required: the procedure is performed after voiding, with empty or poorly filled bladder.

    To prepare you need with a choice of clothes and underwear: they should not contain metal parts (zippers, rivets, labels, underwire on the bra), you’d better not to wear clothes with lurex, as it may contain metal components. No need to wear jewellery, they still have to remove.

    The training also includes a conversation with the doctor who will conduct a survey, he finds out possible contraindications and answer all your questions about the procedure.


    Not to worry and to fear research. It is completely safe. The patient is under constant supervision of medical staff and, if necessary, the examination may be terminated at any time.

    Being in a confined space of the capsule camera, a woman using the built-in microphone can contact the staff at any time.