What is the advantage of magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) for the evaluation of biliary obstruction?

Updated: Oct 16, 2019
  • Author: Jennifer Lynn Bonheur, MD; Chief Editor: Vinay Kumar Kapoor, MBBS, MS, FRCS, FAMS  more...
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Answer

MRCP is a noninvasive way to visualize the hepatobiliary tree. It takes advantage of the fact that fluid (eg, that found in the biliary tree) is hyperintense on T2-weighted images. The surrounding structures do not enhance and can be suppressed during image analysis. However, in its early stages, it was limited in its ability to detect nondilated bile ducts. The advent of rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (RARE) sequences and half-Fourier RARE (also known as half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo or HASTE) sequences can reduce imaging time to a few seconds. This can facilitate imaging in different patient positions to distinguish air from a stone.


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