Role of Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography in the Evaluation of Biliary Disease

Humoud Al-Dhuhli


Magnetic resonace cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) was introduced in 1991, as a non-invasive method of imaging the biliary tree. Although endoscopic cholongiopancreatography (ERCP) has been the mainstay for diagnosing and treating pancreatico-biliary disease, complications such as pancreatitis, cholangitis, haemorrhage and duodenal perforation have limited its use as a routine diagnostic test. Although ERCP is still the standard of reference for imaging the pancreatico-biliary system, MRCP is the examination of choice in a setting where ERCP is difficult or impossible. It is useful in cases with severe biliary obstruction to evaluate the ducts proximal to the obstruction. MRCP has specific advantages over ERCP as it is non-invasive, cheaper, uses no radiation, requires no anaesthesia and is less operator dependent. When combined with conventional T1- and T2-weighted sequences, it allows detection of extraductal disease. The technology is still evolving to make the MRCP examination faster, sharper and with higher spatial resolution.


Magnetic resonance imaging; Magnetic resonace cholangiopancreatography; Cholangiography; Biliary ducts; Gallstone; Cholangiocarcinoma

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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