What is an MRCP test?
Jan 26, 2016
An MRCP test is a specialized MRI exam that evaluates the hepatiobiliary and pancreatic systems, including the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas and pancreatic duct. MRCP stands for Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography:
Cholangio = bile vessel
Pancreato = pancreas
Graphy = image
An MRCP scan looks for abnormalities like
- Obstructions or blockages caused from gallstones
- Stones in the bile duct
- Infections such as cholangitis (infection of the bile duct)
An MRCP test can also be ordered to find the cause of pancreatitis or diagnose unexplained abdominal pain. Additionally, MRCP is a less invasive alternative to ERCP, a procedure that uses an endoscope combined with an IV injection of x-ray contrast dye and fluoroscopy (x-ray images).
About the MRCP scan
An MRCP scan takes about twice as long as a regular MRI scan; 10 minutes for the MRCP imaging and about 30 minutes for abdominal imaging. Depending on the reason why the MRCP test was ordered, IV contrast may be given during the scan.
Some people may experience claustrophobia during an MRI. At Suburban Imaging, our technologists are trained in techniques to alleviate anxiety and claustrophobia; oral sedation is also available at our locations. Watch this short video for more information.
Additional preparation for an MRCP test includes:
- Nothing eat or drink four hours prior to the exam appointment.
- Since MRCP is a specialized MRI scan, certain metal safety precautions must be taken; please review our MRI metal safety checklist.
After the MRCP test
After your MRCP test, your images will be interpreted (reviewed) by one of our board-certified radiologists who specializes in. The findings will be sent to your healthcare provider who ordered the MRCP scan. Your healthcare provider will then contact you to discuss the results and any follow-up care or treatment plans.