The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of transvaginal contrast for local staging of cervical carcinoma. Fifty patients diagnosed with cervical carcinoma prospectively underwent magnetic resonance (MR) imaging before and after vaginal opacification (VO) with a mixture of 25 ml saline and 25 ml barium. T2-weighted (T2W) TSE images in axial and sagittal planes were compared before and after vaginal opacification. Dynamic T1W images in sagittal and fat-suppressed T1W images in transverse planes were also evaluated after intravenous contrast administration. Involvement of vaginal wall, lumen, and fornices; parametrium; rectum; and bladder were noted. Changes in local tumor staging and in treatment planning were also assessed after vaginal opacification. MR results were later compared with surgical pathological findings. Twenty-eight patients who went through surgical staging were included in the study. VO did not change any of the MR interpretations in 14 patients (50%). Correct staging was achieved with T2W TSE images with and without VO (in sagittal and transverse planes) in 78.5% and 50% of the patients, respectively. VO correctly lowered staging in seven and increased it in three patients compared with sagittal standard T2W images. Treatment planning was also changed in four (14%) of these patients. When overall accuracy of MR staging to indicate the appropriate treatment was evaluated, patients would have received the proper treatment in 90% and 79% of the cases when only T2W sagittal images with and without VO were evaluated, respectively. Dynamic gradient-echo images in sagittal planes and postcontrast T1W images in transverse planes evaluated with T2W series after VO, accomplished correct staging in 23 (82%) of the patients. MRI staging in early cervical cancer may be difficult and overestimated, especially if the tumor is slightly extended into the proximal vagina. Use of vaginal contrast medium is an easy, well-tolerated, and effective method to better delineate the borders of the tumor. It increases the specificity and accuracy of MR staging by showing the exact relation of the tumor with the vaginal wall and beyond.