MR Cholangiogram

Your doctor has recommended you for a noninvasive MRI of your pancreas, liver and bile ducts, called a magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatogram. This study analyzes conditions such as pancreatic tumors, obstructive jaundice, chronic pancreatitis, and other abnormalities. Your physician may order an MR cholangiogram alone or it may be performed in conjunction with a routine MRI abdomen.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to create detailed images of organs, soft tissues, bone and virtually all other internal body structures. MR technology allows the physician to evaluate different types of body tissue, as well as distinguish normal, healthy tissue from diseased tissue. Our team of expert physicians, nurses and technologists is headed by Rola Saouaf, MD, chief of Body MRI.

Before Arriving for Your Procedure

  • You can print and fill out the MRI Questionnaire and the MRI and Pregnancy form, if applicable, from the Pre-Registration Questionnaire page before arriving to speed the registration process.
  • You should not have anything to eat or drink for 8 hours before the exam start time, unless instructed to do so by your physician.
  • Women having a pelvic MR should not empty their bladder before the exam.
  • If you are claustrophobic (fearful of small, enclosed areas) or experience pain when lying on your back for more than 30 minutes, your referring physician may prescribe a relaxant or pain medication to help you through the exam. The imaging physicians at Cedars-Sinai will not prescribe such medications for you.
  • If you plan to take relaxation medication before your exam, it is our policy that you come with someone who can drive you home.
  • For studies that involve IV contrast: If you have veins that are small or hard to find, or have a port, please arrive 60 minutes before your scheduled arrival time.
  • If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
  • We want to make any time you may have to time as pleasant as possible. Please consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass any time you may need to wait.
  • You may also bring a CD to listen to during the procedure. We will provide headphones and a CD player.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.
  • Please wear comfortable clothing.

After Arriving

  • Please tell the technologist, radiology nurse and/or imaging physician of any allergies you may have, and if you are pregnant or are nursing.
  • You will be asked to complete a questionnaire which will determine if an MRI is safe for you. People with various implants (usually metallic) or with metal in their bodies (including some tattoos) may have difficulty with an MRI, which utilizes a strong magnetic field. The imaging physician needs to be informed of any of these potential problems.

During Your Procedure

  • You will be asked to change into a hospital gown.
  • You will then be asked to lie on the scanning table headfirst with arms at your side.
  • Coils (special devices to improve image quality) may be placed on or around your abdomen.
  • The scanning table will slide your whole body into the magnet.
  • During the scan, earplugs will be provided to help mask the noise (intermittent humming, thumping, clicking and knocking) and allow you to listen to music.
  • In most cases, the imaging physician requests a contrast agent (dye) to improve the quality of the images. The dye is injected into a vein in the arm and may cause a cool sensation.
  • As pictures are taken, you must hold very still, and in some cases hold your breath up to 25 seconds.
  • The technologist is always able to see and hear you during the exam

Exam Duration:

  • MRI abdomen and cholangiogram 60 to 75 minutes
  • MRI cholangiogram 30 minutes

After Your Procedure

  • There are no restrictions placed upon you. You may eat or drive as normal, although if you took relaxation medication, you will need someone to drive you home.
  • Your films will be examined by an imaging physician and a report sent to your doctor. Your doctor will review the results with you.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 310-423-8000.

The S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center provides a full range of advanced imaging, both radiology and cardiology, as well as interventional radiology and interventional tumor (oncology) treatments to the greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, Encino, Mid-Cities, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, Studio City, Toluca Lake and West Hollywood.