MR pneumocolon

Scan to study the large bowel

An MR pneumocolon is a special study of the large bowel. HCA UK experts explain more about the procedure.

What is a MR pneumocolon?

An MR pneumocolon is a special study of the large bowel (part of the digestive system, made up of the colon and rectum).

It helps doctors to identify any irritated tissue, ulcers or growths, and can help to diagnose conditions such as bowel cancer.

Need to know

  • What happens during the scan? icon plus

    The study involves using an MRI scan, where magnetic fields and radio waves are used to generate detailed images of the body. You’ll lie on a bed which moves into the MRI scanner. It’s not painful, but you will need to lie still to enable the radiographer to obtain the best images.

    Although this examination primarily focuses on the large bowel, the rest of the abdomen is also visible. The images taken can help to identify any irritated tissue, ulcers or growths such as polyps, as well as helping to diagnose conditions such as bowel cancer.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    To improve the image, patients need to specially prepare by ensuring that their large bowel is empty, which involves taking a laxative before the procedure. Sometimes the scanner makes loud noises and beeps during the scan, so you may be given ear protection to wear, such as ear plugs or headphones. The whole process of preparing for the scan and acquiring the images will take around two hours.
  • After your scan icon plus

    The MR pneumocolon is performed by a radiographer and your results are reported by a consultant radiologist. After the procedure, the images will be examined further by the radiologist, who will then report the results to your referring doctor within 24 - 48 hours.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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