Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Abdomen
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test
done with a large machine that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave
energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the belly. In many
cases MRI gives information about structures in the body that cannot be seen as
well with an
For an MRI test, you are placed
inside the magnet so that your belly is inside the strong magnetic field. MRI
can find changes in the structure of organs or other tissues. It also can find
tissue damage or disease, such as infection or a tumor. Pictures from an MRI
scan are digital images that can be saved and stored on a computer for further
study. The images also can be reviewed remotely, such as in a clinic or an
operating room. Photographs or films of selected pictures can also be
In some cases, contrast material may be used during the MRI scan to
show certain structures more clearly in the pictures. The contrast material may
be used to check blood flow, find some types of tumors, and show areas of
inflammation or infection.
Although MRI is a safe and valuable
test for looking at structures and organs inside the body, it is more expensive
than other imaging methods and may not be available in all medical
See pictures of a
standard MRI machine and an
open MRI machine .
Why It Is Done
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the
abdomen is done to:
- Find problems or tumors in the
abdominal organs and tissues. In some cases, MRI can
tell if a tumor is noncancerous (benign) or cancerous
- Check lower abdominal and pelvic organs for tumors,
bleeding, or problems present since birth (congenital
- Find a blocked tube or stones in the tube that
bile from the liver to the gallbladder (bile
- Check organs and blood vessels prior to organ transplantation or
How To Prepare
Before your MRI test, tell your doctor
and the MRI technologist if you:
- Are allergic to any medicines. The contrast
material used for MRI does not contain iodine. If you know that you are allergic to the contrast material used for the MRI, tell your doctor before having another test.
- Are or might be pregnant.
- Have any metal implanted in your body. This helps your doctor know if the test is safe for you. Tell your doctor if you have:
- Heart and blood vessel devices such as a coronary artery stent, pacemaker, ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator), or metal heart valve.
- Metal pins, clips, or metal parts in your body, including artificial limbs and dental work or braces.
- Any other implanted medical device, such as a medicine infusion pump or a cochlear implant.
- Cosmetic metal implants, such as in your ears, or tattooed eyeliner.
- Had recent surgery on a blood vessel. In some
cases, you may not be able to have the MRI test.
- Have an
intrauterine device (IUD) in place. An IUD may prevent
you from having the MRI test done.
- Become very nervous in confined
spaces. You need to lie very still inside the MRI magnet, so you may need
medicine to help you relax. Or you may be able to have the test done with open
MRI equipment. It is not as confining as standard MRI machines.
- Have any other health conditions, such as kidney problems or
sickle cell anemia, that may prevent you from having
an MRI using contrast material.
- Wear any medicine patches. The MRI may cause a burn at the patch