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Abdomen MRI

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What is MRCP/Pancreas/Liver MRI used for?

Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is a special type of MRI that outlines the biliary system and pancreas including the biliary ducts, gallbladder, pancreatic duct and pancreas. It provides a non-invasive alternative to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). If there is suspicion of a biliary or pancreatic disorder or disease then MRI is Medicare rebateable.

Duct obstruction can occur due to gallstones, tumours or inflammation. MRI provides information important for surgical planning of removal of a pancreatic or biliary tumour.

Liver MRI can be performed for characterisation or detection of tumours (non Medicare rebateable).

How to prepare for a MRCP/Pancreas/Liver MRI?

Most of these studies require you to have nothing to eat or drink for 5 hours before the MRI. Please check with our staff when booking or confirming your appointment.

What to expect during a MRCP/Pancreas /Liver MRI?

You are required to hold your breath for short periods of time during the procedure. Suspending breathing temporarily means that your images are not blurred by movement of your chest, when the images are being acquired.

Adrenal MRI can be used to:

  • Identify, characterise and stage an adrenal tumour.
  • Identify fat in an adrenal tumour. This is used to diagnose an adrenal adenoma thereby excluding a cancer of the adrenal.
  • Characterise an adrenal mass when the patient has a primary cancer elsewhere that is otherwise resectable, and in this instance, the MRI is Medicare rebateable.

Preparation: Fast for 5 hours prior to the examination.

Kidney MRI can be used to:

  • Diagnose and stage renal cancers.
  • If IVC occlusion (or SVC or a major pelvic vein occlusion) is suspected, an MRI can be undertaken (Medicare rebateable).
  • Characterise renal cysts and differentiate those that require biopsy from those that have a more benign appearance and require surveillance.

Preparation: Fast for 5 hours prior to the examination.

What are Ferriscan Iron Studies?

Ferriscan is an MRI test that measures liver and myocardial iron. This is important in patients with haemochromatosis and thalassemia. Specialist MRI is the only facility in Sydney that offers this test.

Your data is sent to Western Australia for analysis and results can take five working days.

What is Small Bowel Enterography MRI used for?

MRI Enterography is a special type of MRI performed to evaluate the small bowel. Traditionally, a test called a small bowel series requiring oral barium used x-rays to image the bowel at certain time points. MRI Enterography has advantages over this test because it does not require radiation and it can image the entire small bowel simultaneously.

Small Bowel Enterography MRI can:

  • Identify and locate the presence of and complications of Crohn's disease such as abscesses and fistulas.
  • Identify and characterise small bowel tumours.

How to prepare for a Small Bowel Enterography MRI?

There is detailed preparation required for this test and patients should contact our reception staff when the appointment is made.

What to expect from a Small Bowel Enterography MRI?

You will be required to have a needle placed in your arm. A drug called buscopan is administered to suspend peristalsis or movement of the intestines. This limits image degradation or blur due to movement. Patients with glaucoma and certain heart arrhythmias are not able to receive this drug. Buscopan can cause drowsiness and transient blurred vision and patients should plan to remain at Specialist MRI for 30 minutes following the MRI or attend with a caregiver, who can accompany the patient following the test.

An injection of IV contrast (gadolinium) is also given in the same needle to demonstrate areas of inflammation or tumour.

New Medicare Item Numbers are available for MRI to evaluate small bowel Crohn's disease, and MRI for fistulising perianal Crohn's disease from 1 November 2014.