MRI Defecography Procedure Information

Your doctor has recommended an MRI defecography exam for you. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create detailed images. MRI defecography is used to diagnose prolapse, incontinence, pelvic pain or constipation, and allows for a rapid evaluation. Our team of expert physicians, nurses and technologists is headed by Rola Saouaf, MD, chief, Body MRI.

Before Arriving for Your Exam

  • You can fill out and bring with you the MRI Questionnaire and the MRI and Pregnancy forms, if applicable, from the Pre-Registration Questionnaire page.
  • If your doctor gave you a written order, please bring it with you.
  • Please remember to bring your insurance card and a photo ID.
  • Metal: You will be asked if you have any metal in your body. This can include medical devices, some tattoos and piercings. Having metal in your body does not automatically disqualify you from having an MRI exam. All patients are evaluated individually.
  • Pacemakers and other implantable devices.
    • Important: If you have a pacemaker or other implantable device, please make sure you bring detailed information for your device type and your leads. It is important for us to know which make and model you have.
    • Many of today's implantable devices are designed to allow a patient to have an MRI exam.
    • In some cases, people with pacemakers, defibrillators or other electronic devices cannot have an MRI scan.
  • If you are claustrophobic (fearful of small, enclosed areas) or experience pain when lying on your back for more than 30 minutes, your referring physician may prescribe a relaxant or pain medication to help you through the exam. The imaging physicians at Cedars-Sinai will not prescribe these medications for you.
  • If you plan to take relaxation medication before you exam, it is our policy that you come with someone who can drive you home.
  • Anesthesia: If you are having anesthesia, please read MRI and Anesthesia.

Preparing for Your Exam

  • You must empty your bladder two hours before the exam and not void again until the exam is complete. 
  • No fasting is required for this study.

After Arriving

  • You must tell the technologist, radiology nurse and/or imaging physician of any allergies you may have.
  • You will be asked to fill out a questionnaire which will determine if an MRI is safe for you. 
  • You will be asked to change into a hospital gown, and remove any metallic objects.

During Your Exam

  • A soft gel-like substance will be placed in your rectum. This will improve the quality of the images. A cloth will be placed under you to absorb anything that may leak out during the exam.
  • You will be asked to lie on your back with your knees bent. 
  • If needed, we can use pillows and straps to help you remain still and in the correct position.
  • A device called an MR coil will be placed around your pelvis. The coil helps improve the quality of the images.
  • The scanning table will slide your whole body into the magnet.
  • The technologist will be able to hear and see you at all times.
  • During the scan you will hear loud humming, thumping, clicking and knocking sounds.
  • Earplugs will be provided which will allow you to listen to music.
  • During the exam, a technologist will give you instructions. 
  • Images will be taken as you contract your muscles as you would during a bowel movement (Valsalva), as well as when your muscles are relaxed.
  • The exam will take approximately 15-20 minutes.

After Your Procedure

  • There are no restrictions placed upon you. You may eat or drive as normal, although if you took relaxation medication, you will need someone to drive you home.
  • Your films will be examined by an imaging physician and a report sent to your doctor. Your doctor will review the results with you.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call 310-423-8000.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.