Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the pelvis assists your doctor in seeing the bones, organs, blood vessels and other tissues in your pelvic region, the area between your hips that holds your reproductive organs and numerous critical muscles. A pelvic MRI examines organs such as the bladder, and reproductive organs such as the uterus and ovaries in females and the prostate gland in males.
Because there is no ionizing radiation used in an MRI exam, Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a very popular tool in the medical community. In addition, MRI is a totally painless exam and has no known side effects.
When would I get a MRI of the Pelvis?
Your medical provider may recommend an MRI of the pelvis in order evaluate:
- birth defects
- injury or trauma in the pelvic area
- abnormal x-ray results
- pain in the lower abdominal or pelvic region
- unexplained difficulties urinating or defecating
- tumors or suspected cancer in reproductive organs, bladder, rectum or urinary tract.
For women specifically, your doctor may order a pelvic MRI to further investigate:
- irregular vaginal bleeding
- lumps or masses in your pelvic area (such as uterine fibroids)
- unexplained pain in your lower belly or pelvic area.
For men specifically, a pelvic MRI might look for conditions such as:
- an undescended testicle
- lumps in the scrotum or testicles, or swelling in that area.
What Will I Experience?
MRI exams are painless. However, some patients find it challenging to remain still. Others may feel closed-in (claustrophobia) or anxious while in a conventional closed MRI scanner. The scanner can be noisy. Nervous or anxious patients may be offered a mild sedative.
A patient may also ask their medical provider to prescribe a mild sedative to take before the exam. If a mild sedative is taken, the patient will need to have someone drive them to our center and take them home once the exam is done.
It is normal for the area of your body being imaged to feel slightly warm. It is important that you remain perfectly still while the images are being recorded, which is typically only a few seconds to a few minutes at a time. You will know when images are being recorded because you will hear tapping or thumping sounds when the coils that generate the radiofrequency pulses are activated. You will be able to relax between imaging sequences, but will be asked to maintain your position as much as possible.
You will usually be alone in the exam room during the MRI procedure. However, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times using a two-way intercom.
You will be offered earplugs or a headset to reduce the noise of the MRI, which produces loud thumping and humming noises during imaging. MRI scanners are air-conditioned and well-lit. Some of our scanners have music you can listen to during the test.
If you have an exam that requires an injection of intravenous contrast material, it is normal to feel coolness and a flushing sensation for a minute or two following the injection. The intravenous needle may cause you some discomfort when it is inserted and once it is removed, you may experience some bruising. There is also a very small chance of irritation of your skin at the site of the IV tube insertion.
Typically, this type of MRI exam will take approximately 30 to 60 minutes to complete.