Abdominal MRI Scan
Some types of MR studies available to patients include:
Abdominal MRA (MR angiography)
Abdominal MRA can be used to evaluate vessels for areas of narrowing (stenosis) or dilitation (aneurysm). Sometimes MRA is used for preoperative planning for abdominal masses.
Adrenal Gland Imaging
Our MR systems are capable of performing “chemical shift” imaging that can help to distinguish malignant from benign adrenal masses. Some patients may have a tumor of the adrenal gland that results in high blood pressure. MR can detect and characterize such masses and suggest which lesions are amenable to surgical therapy.
In some patients, particularly those who are pregnant, MRI can be used to evaluate for appendicitis and thus avoid radiation exposure to the developing fetus.
Screening examinations of the colon for tumors are best achieved through barium enema or CT colonography. MR is ideal for evaluating potential fistula tracts of the distal colon, rectum or anus which occur in various conditions including inflammatory bowel disease. It is also recommended for staging of rectal cancer (see separate tab for Pelvic MRI).
Renal (kidney) MRI can be useful to:
- Diagnose and stage renal neoplasms
- Characterize renal cysts to determine the need for follow up or surgery
- Evaluate the ureters for obstructing lesions
Liver and Pancreas Imaging
MR is considered the most accurate imaging method for liver and pancreas evaluation. Applications include:
- Evaluate cirrhosis and its complications (e.g., ascites, varices and liver cancer).
- Detect and characterize hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) or hemochromatosis (iron overload of the liver).
- Detect, stage and characterize focal liver and pancreatic cysts and masses to determine the need for follow up or surgery.
- Detect and characterize the severity of pancreatitis and check for complications.
Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
Many diseases of the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts can be shown through magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP). MRCP is a non-invasive technique that visualizes the bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreatic ducts without the use of an endoscope or sedation. Applications of MRCP include:
- Evaluation of the bile ducts to exclude potential causes of obstruction (gallstone or mass)
- Evaluation of the relationship of pancreatic cysts to the pancreatic ducts
- Evaluation for ductal anomalies that can lead to biliary obstruction or pancreatitis
A four to six hour fasting period is required prior to MRCP. You may take any regularly scheduled medicines during the fasting period.
Magnetic resonance enterography, or MR enterography, is a minimally invasive imaging test that allows your doctor to obtain detailed pictures of your small and large bowel without the use of radiation which would be necessary to evaluate these findings with CT or fluoroscopy. It can pinpoint areas of:
- Inflammation (swelling and irritation)
It may be used to evaluate the effectiveness of therapy for inflammatory bowel disease. MR enterography is often recommended for patients with Crohn’s disease who tend to be young and who are likely to need many follow-up imaging tests, to limit exposure to ionizing radiation. Patients undergoing MR enterography will need to arrive two hours early to give time to ingest three bottles of Volumen prior to imaging. Most patients having MR enterography will receive an injection of intramuscular glucagon prior to imaging. This is a natural hormone known to slow bowel peristalsis and thus diminish MRI artifacts. Also, a four to six hour fasting period is required prior to MR enterography. You may take any regularly scheduled medicines during the fasting period.
Radiologyinfo.org for Patients
The radiology information resource for patients. RadiologyInfo.org tells you how various X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, radiation therapy and other procedures are performed. It also addresses what you may experience and how to prepare for the exams. The website contains over 200 procedure, exam and disease descriptions covering diagnostic and interventional radiology, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and radiation safety and is updated frequently with new information. All material on the RadiologyInfo.org website is reviewed and approved by experts in the field of radiology from the ACR and RSNA, as well as other professional radiology organizations.