MRI and the Pancreas – pro

MRI is a useful modality in an evaluation of pancreatic cancer. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with gadolinium enhancement compares favorably with CT in the assessment of local tumor extent, relationship to vascular structures, lymph node involvement, and distant metastases.  MRI may improve differentiation of a pancreatic cancer from chronic pancreatitis in evaluating a pancreatic head mass, and offers simultaneous assessment of the pancreatic and bile ducts by heavily T2-weighted imaging (MR-cholangiopancreatography). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is comparable to CT for detecting gross glandular abnormalities (atrophy, pseudocysts). Contrast-enhanced MRI may offer improved differentiation of neoplastic and inflammatory masses. Heavily T2-weighted images produce bright enhancement of fluid-filled structures including the pancreatic duct (MR-cholangiopancreatography [MRCP]), allowing a noninvasive alternative to ERCP for imaging the pancreatic duct .

Trede M, Rumstadt B, Wendl K, et al. Ultrafast magnetic resonance imaging improves the staging of pancreatic tumors. Ann Surg. 1997;226:393-405; discussion 405-407.

Remer EM, Baker ME. Imaging of chronic pancreatitis. Radiol Clin North Am. 2002;40:1229-1242.

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