Impact of bowel preparation with Fleet’s™ enema on prostate MRI quality

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Abdominal Radiology




Artifact; Bowel preparation; Enema; MRI quality; Prostate MRI


© 2020, This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply . Aim: To investigate the effects of cleansing Fleet’s™ enema (FE) on rectal distention and image quality of diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) in prostate magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Methods: This study included 117 prospectively accrued active surveillance patients who underwent prostate MRI both without (prep−) and with bowel preparation consisting of FE (prep+) obtained within 12 months of each other. The anterior–posterior (AP) diameter of the rectum, degree of perceived distention in the rectum and image quality scores were assessed by two independent readers for both (prep− and prep+) scans. DWI distortion was assessed quantitatively using the degree of anatomic mismatches between images obtained at different b values and the T2-weighted MRI. DWI artifact was qualitatively scored based on the presence of blurring, poor signal-to-noise, and artifact lines. The difference in rectal AP diameters between the two methods was tested by the paired Wilcoxon rank test. Stuart Maxell test was used in comparing rectal distention, DWI distortion, and artifact. Reader agreement was estimated by kappa statistics. p values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant. Results: Mean rectal AP diameter was significantly larger in prep− compared with prep+ scans (p = 0.002). Subjective scores demonstrated inter-reader variability. For instance, the rectal distention score was significantly lower in prep+ for reader 2 (p < 0.001) whereas it was not significant for reader 1 (p = 0.09). Reader 2 also found significant improvement in DWI distortion (p = 0.02) in prep+ scans. There was no significant difference between prep− and prep+ in DWI distortion and artifacts for reader 1 (p = 0.17 and p = 0.49, respectively), or DWI artifacts for reader 2 (p = 0.55). Kappa scores were moderate for rectal distension, but weak for DWI distortion, and artifacts. Conclusion: Bowel preparation with enema prior to prostate MRI may diminish rectal gas but has modest effects on DWI distortion and overall image quality. The value of bowel prep is not conclusively validated in this study.

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