Test Details & Preparation
Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam that produces detailed images of the hepatobiliary and pancreatic systems, including the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas and pancreatic duct.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive medical test that physicians use to diagnose and treat medical conditions.
MRI uses a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays).
Detailed MR images allow physicians to evaluate various parts of the body and determine the presence of certain diseases.
Doctors use MRCP to examine diseases of the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas and pancreatic duct. These may include tumours, stones, inflammation or infection evaluate patients with pancreatitis to detect the underlying cause. In patients with pancreatitis, an MRCP may be performed using a medication called Secretin to assess for long term scarring and to determine the amount of healthy pancreatic function and secretions help to diagnose unexplained abdominal pain and provide a less invasive alternative to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). ERCP is a diagnostic procedure that combines endoscopy, which uses an illuminated optical instrument to examine inside the body, with iodinated contrast injection and x-ray images.
You may be asked to wear a gown during the exam or you may be allowed to wear your own clothing if it is loose-fitting and has no metal fasteners.
Guidelines about eating and drinking before an MRI exam vary. Usually, you will be instructed not to eat or drink anything for several hours before your procedure.
Jewellery and other accessories should be left at home if possible, or removed prior to the MRI scan. Because they can interfere with the magnetic field of the MRI unit, metal and electronic items are not allowed in the exam room. In general, metal objects used in orthopaedic surgery pose no risk during MRI. However, a recently placed artificial joint may require the use of another imaging procedure. If there is any question of their presence, an x-ray may be taken to detect and identify any metal objects.
You will usually be alone in the exam room during the MRI procedure. However, the technologist will be able to see, hear and speak with you at all times using a two-way intercom. Many MRI centres allow a friend or parent to stay in the room as long as they are also screened for safety in the magnetic environment.
A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care or referring physician, who will share the results with you.