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MR Enteroclysis (with NJ tube)

Hi guys,

I'm due to be having an MR enteroclysis soon (where they put the liquid in via an NJ tube!) as opposed to an MR enterography where you just drink the stuff.

For some reason my GI's say this gives better pictures and is now the gold standard.

I'm not pleased at the prospect of having an NJ tube and would be grateful to hear from anyone who's had this test, or has had a tube? If anyone has had this type of MRE, is it awful?

Thanks :)


Staff member
My son hasn't had this test, however, he uses an NG tube every night for supplemental enteral nutrition.

Ask if they can use the smallest tube possible - my son is almost 6', 160 lbs but uses an infant sized tube, 6FR. But, the thickness of the liquid you need for the test may require a specific sized tube???

The hardest part is getting past the 'gag' reflex. While inserting the tube, drink water (through a straw) at the same time... in a sense, you will 'swallow' the tube as you drink. Once the tip of the tube passes this area, the rest of the insertion is much easier.

If the nurse (and you) are having difficulty with the insertion, it might be easier to try it yourself (with the nurse's guidance) as you will feel when to slow down, speed up, etc.

Some people find it easier to insert the tube through one nostril opposed to the other. My son always uses the left side, finds it much harder to insert if he tries the right side.

The end of the tube can be coated in a gel to make insertion easier. Also, although my son has never used it, so no experience with it, there are numbing gels that can be used.

My son never found the insertion painful but did find it uncomfortable and awkward at the beginning. He also found the sensation of having the tube in his throat bothersome... was still able to drink, talk, etc. but felt like there was something 'stuck' in his throat.

Good luck!!! :) I hope you don't have much trouble with it!


Well-known member
I've had it and it's nothing, you tend to want to gag when it goes in but you need to relax and breathe knowing the tube doesn't hurt, it's just a silly plastic tube. They use this for normal MRI too when people refuse to drink the contrast. Pulling it out is also nothing, it takes 2 second.

It's really a joke compared to a full colonoscopy, it's even less intrusive than an upper endoscopy which is also really nothing to worry about, it's cake and you'll do fine.

The only thing I ever am worried about is full colonoscopy, most other tests for crohn's disease are pretty easy.
I have had this in the past too. I was very sick when I had it done and in a lot of pain. That made it bad for me. I ended up having a perforated bowel and they found it because the barium they sent done leaked out and showed up on a CT Scan the next day. The perforation was so tiny it did not show up on the CT Scan. So, actually, I guess that test saved my life.

Overall, I do agree it is better than a colonoscopy and nothing to be fearful of. They told me to pretend I was sucking in a strand of spaghetti. Visualizing this did help me to get the tube down easier. I am surprised to hear this test is the gold standard now. I had mine done almost 20 years ago so I guess it was pretty cutting edge then. Up until then, a barium enema was the gold standard for seeing the small bowel. Eww. That was not pleasant.

Has anyone suggested a camera endoscopy, where you swallow the little camera? I have had this too and it is a breeze and the pictures were very good.
Thanks a lot for the replies. What does the tube passing down feel like? Is it easy to swallow? I'm a bit worried as I have a condition which means I don't produce saliva, and I'm scared I won't be able to swallow it due to dryness, although I know they can lubricate it. I find a colonoscopy/endoscopy no bother because I don't remember any of it!

If the MRI is negative then we are moving on to pillcam.
I don't remember having any difficulty getting the tube down and did it in one try. No difficulty swallowing it at all. Once it was down, I do not remember "feeling it" at all. I also don't remember having a sedative to relax me either. I remember them saying I needed to be fully awake in order to cooperate. A little Xanax wouldn't have hurt though. Maybe ask and see if they will give you something to ease the nerves.

The best advice I can give you is to try to be as calm and relaxed as possible.
Sorry didn't read the relies but.......

My 4 yr old has one.
Ask for a cup of water that you can drink as they put it in. This will help you get past the gag reflux.
Sorry didn't read the relies but.......

My 4 yr old has one.
Ask for a cup of water that you can drink as they put it in. This will help you get past the gag reflux.
Boy do I feel a bit silly if your 4 year old has one. If she can do it, so can I!! :p
Hi! Luckily they've decided to do it the usual way with a barium meal rather than a tube.
I'm sure you'll be fine though. I was so scared by the thought of it, but my mum is a nurse and she said it sounds a lot worse than it is.
She used to insert them a lot and once you get past the gag reflex part it's okay :)