MRI Bile Duct and Gall Bladder

  Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)

      Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a relatively new procedure that helps clinicians assess the biliary tract including the bile duct, the pancreatic duct and the gall bladder for disease, tumors and stones.

     MRCP uses magnetic resonance imaging technology without the need for injections of contrast material to make images of the biliary tract stand out. One advantage to MRCP is that it is a non-invasive procedure. It can sometimes be used as a fast and accurate alternative to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography(ERCP), an invasive procedure in which a flexible tube (endoscope) is inserted through the mouth into the duodenum (the portion of the small intestine that is closest to the stomach).

     Over the last decade since MRCP was introduced the technology has improved greatly. Now, pictures of the whole biliary tract and pancreatic duct can be produced during the time a single breath is held. MRCP may be useful, for example, in cases with unexplained abdominal pain in which there is a low or uncertain probability of hepatobiliary pathology such as retained stones in the common bile duct, cancer, biliary dyskinesia, or idiopathic pancreatitis.   


MRCP may reveal disorders such as:

  • Stones in biliary track
  • Tumors of the biliary track
  • Disorder of the pancreatic ducts
  • Detection of intraluminal pancreatic duct calculi
  • Jaundice
  • Parasite in biliary track
    Preparation for the procedure

    Do not eat or drink anything for the four hours before the test. 
    Food and liquid in your stomach can make it difficult to obtain images of your bile or pancreatic ducts.