Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography

An MRI uses magnetic waves and computers to make pictures of the inside of the body. A magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a special type of MRI scan. It is used to make pictures of the hepatobiliary and pancreatic systems.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After the test, call your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Worsening of symptoms
    • Any allergic or abnormal symptoms, especially if you were injected with contrast dye

  • Definition

    An MRI uses magnetic waves and computers to make pictures of the inside of the body. A magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a special type of MRI scan. It is used to make pictures of the hepatobiliary and pancreatic systems.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Test

    MRCP is used to examine the:

    • Liver
    • Gall bladder
    • Bile ducts, which are tube-like structure that carry bile
    • Pancreas and pancreatic ducts, which are tube-like structures that carry digestive enzymes

    Your doctor may order this test to look for:


    • Cause of symptoms like abdominal pain or
      jaundice
      , which is a yellowing of the skin caused by liver problems

    • Conditions like
      pancreatitis
      , which is swelling of the pancreas
    • Blockages—may be caused by bile duct stones
    • Growths—like tumors
    Severe Pancreatitis
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  • Results

    A radiologist will look at the image. A report will be given to your doctor. You will meet with your doctor to go over the results.

  • Possible Complications

    Complications are rare. If you are planning to have an MRCP, your doctor will review a list of possible complications.

    Some people have a bad reaction to the contrast dye. The contrast is chemical that improves the details in the pictures. In some people, the contrast can cause allergic reactions or kidney problems.

    MRI scans can be harmful if you have metal inside your body, such as joint replacements or a pacemaker. Make sure your doctor knows of any internal metal before the test.

    Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the test. Let your doctor know about any allergies or unrelated illnesses you may have.