A range of diagnostic techniques are used to determine the cause of your symptoms. These techniques are highly sophisticated and can accurately diagnose most gastroenterological conditions.

You will be given detailed information about whichever procedure you are having before you attend for your appointment.

The person carrying out the procedure will endeavour to put you at your ease and to answer any questions that you may have.

Although you may feel a little apprehensive about undergoing one of these investigations, please be assured they are routine procedures that should help to get to the bottom of whatever is causing your symptoms. This is the first step towards feeling better.

MRI Scan


MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging. This type of scan uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of your body.

The scanner is a tube wide enough for you to lie inside. It contains powerful magnets. MRI scans can be used to examine virtually any part of your body. They are effective at:

  • diagnosing and monitoring conditions.
  • assessing how effective treatment has been.
  • planning new treatments.

If you have suspected colon or rectal cancer, an MRI scan can be used to confirm the diagnosis and determine what stage the cancer is at.

Doctors can scan the whole of the bowel and surrounding organs to see if the cancer has spread.

What to expect before, during and after

During an MRI scan, you will lie on a flat bed that moves inside the scanner. Your whole body will enter the scanner, either head first or feet first, depending which part of your body is being scanned.

The radiographer who is operating the scanner will sit in an adjacent room. You will be able to talk via an intercom and they will be able to see you at all times during the scan on a monitor.

You will be given earplugs or headphones to wear during the scan, as the scanner will make loud tapping sounds at certain points. This is the electric current in the scanner coils being turned on and off.

MRI scans are painless and safe however you may find it claustrophobic being inside the scanner. Talk to the radiographer if you feel uncomfortable, as they will be able to offer you support.

MRI scanning does not exposure your body to radiation, which means they are safe for people who cannot normally have CT scans, such as pregnant women. They are not advisable for people with certain types of implants, such as a pacemaker. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned.

The whole scan will take between 15 to 90 minutes depending on the size of the area being scanned.



MRI scans are safe and painless however some people find them claustrophobic as you lie on a flat bed that moves inside the scanner. Your radiographer will talk to you during the procedure and you may be offered sedatives if you are anxious. There is no evidence to suggest that MRI scans pose a risk to health and they are considered one of the safest medical procedures.

An MRI scan does not use x-rays, which means they are safe for people who could not normally have an x-ray such as pregnant women and babies. They work using magnetic fields and radio waves.

No, although MRI scans are very safe, the strong magnets used during the scan can affect any metal implants or fragments in your body. MRI scans may not be performed if you have any metal in your body or if you are in the first three months of pregnancy, as an added safety precaution. Talk to your doctor if you suspect you may have metal in your body, such as metal plates, screws or rods, or a pacemaker or drug pump implant.

Experienced bowel doctor, here to help you

The sooner you seek help, the sooner your chances of returning to health and getting your life back on track.

There really is nothing to feel embarrassed about and everything to be gained by coming to talk to a specialist.

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