Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)

Image courtesy of Jason Klapman, MD, Moffitt Cancer Center

MRCP is a special type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). It uses computer software that specifically images pancreatic and bile ducts, which are often the site of tumors.  Fluid naturally present in the ducts serves as a contrast substance.  MRCP is an excellent tool for visualizing pancreatic cysts and blockages in the ducts. An MRCP can be done at the same time as an MRI.

MRCP provides a similar picture as ERCP, but without the risks of an invasive ERCP procedure.  MRCP may be used in place of ERCP to diagnose pancreatic cancer if a stent placement to alleviate jaundice, is not required.

Jaundice or abnormal liver function can also be caused by other conditions such as bile duct stones, tumors in the small intestine or a type of pancreatic tumor called intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN).  MRCP may be used to diagnose these conditions.

 

Image courtesy of Jason Klapman, MD, Moffitt Cancer Center

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