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Pediatric Magnetic Resonance (MR) Enterography

At Children’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease Clinic, we use magnetic resonance enterography (MRE, or MR enterography), a noninvasive imaging test, to evaluate inflammatory bowel disease. MRE is especially beneficial for children, as it does not use radiation. Radiation exposure is an important concern for children with IBD, because they often need to undergo many scans and tests. MRE allows us to obtain detailed images without exposing your child to unnecessary radiation.

MR Enterography at Children’s National

Our pediatric experts and child-centered environment help ensure that your child feels comfortable and prepared before the exam. Before the exam, our Child Life Specialists can help prepare your child for their procedure so your child feel reassured and knows what to expect.

In addition, although children usually do not require sedation for an MRE, sedation is available if necessary. Our facility is the only one in the region to guarantee 24/7 access to a pediatric anesthesiologist.

MR Enterography for IBD

One goal of this imaging scan is to pinpoint the exact location and nature of your child’s digestive condition. This helps us create a more precise treatment plan. We may recommend this procedure to find:

  • Areas of inflammation or narrowing
  • Abscesses, small pockets of pus in the intestine
  • Small tears in the intestine wall
  • Blockages or obstructions

MR enterography is a popular imaging choice for children with IBD. Unlike an X-ray, it does not use radiation. In addition, it captures more detailed images than do other imaging scans.

MR Enterography: What to Expect

We will discuss with you and your child any preparation instructions. Generally, this includes fasting for eight hours before the scan. During the exam, we will:

  1. Give your child a special barium solution to drink before we begin. This solution helps us get detailed images of the stomach and bowel.
  2. Begin an intravenous (IV) line and inject a special dye, called a contrast material. Contrast material highlights blood vessels and soft tissue during the procedure.
  3. Give your child earphones, since the scanner machine makes loud noises.
  4. Lie your child on a table that slides into the MRI unit. You can sit in a chair next to your child during the exam unless you have health indications that would make it unsafe (for example, if you are pregnant).
  5. The exam lasts about 45 minutes. Your child can communicate with the MR technologist during the exam.

Procedures for Children: Family Resources

Our goal is to maximize the quality of our patients’ lives and ease the stress on families. Children’s National provides many family-centered services because we understand that when a child is ill, it affects the entire family.Learn more about:



Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition

Our gastroenterology experts provide expert diagnosis and treatments for children with digestive, liver and nutrition disorders.

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