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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Abdomen

Results continued...

The radiologist may discuss initial results of the MRI with you right after the test. Complete results are usually available for your doctor in 1 to 2 days.

An MRI scan can sometimes find a problem in a tissue or an organ that is not seen by X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan, even when the size and shape of the tissue or organ looks normal.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen
Normal:

The organs and blood vessels are normal in size, shape, and location.

No abnormal growths, such as tumors, are present.

No blockage is found in the ducts draining the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas.

No blockage is found in the tubes (ureters) that lead out of the kidneys.

No bleeding, abnormal collections of fluid, blockage in the flow of blood, or bulges in the blood vessels (aneurysms) are present.

No signs of inflammation or infection are present.

Abnormal:

An organ is too large, too small, or in the wrong place. The MRI also may show areas of scarring or injury.

Growths are found, such as tumors that could be either benign or cancerous. Signs of infection may be present.

A collection of fluid is present, which could mean you have internal bleeding or an infection.

A bulge in the wall of a blood vessel (aneurysm) is present. Blockage in or narrowing of a blood vessel also may be found.

Blockage is present in the bile ducts. Reasons for the blockage may include a gallstone, tumor, infection, or inflammation.

Blockage is present in the tubes leading from the kidneys (ureters). Reasons for the blockage may include a kidney stone, tumor, infection, or inflammation.

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • Pregnancy. An MRI test usually is not done during pregnancy. In some cases, an MRI could be safely done late in your pregnancy if your doctor wants to check your belly or your developing baby for problems.
  • Medical devices that use electronics, such as a pacemaker or medicine infusion pump. The MRI magnet may cause problems with these devices.
  • Medical devices that contain metal, which can make some of the detailed MRI pictures blurry. This may prevent your doctor from seeing the organ that is being looked at. For example, an intrauterine device (IUD) that contains metal may prevent your doctor from seeing the uterus clearly.
  • If you are not able to remain still during the test.
  • Obesity. A person who is very overweight may not fit into standard MRI machines.

What To Think About

  • Sometimes your MRI test results may be different than those from CT, ultrasound, or X-ray tests because the MRI scan is more specific.
  • An abdominal CT scan or abdominal ultrasound is generally done before an MRI of the abdomen. Another test that may be done before or after an MRI of the abdomen is called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). For more information, see the topics CT Scan of the Body, Abdominal Ultrasound, and Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP).
  • Open MRI machines are now made so that the magnet does not completely surround you. Open MRI is useful for people who are claustrophobic or obese. But these machines are not available everywhere. Also, these machines may not be able to do all the studies needed to check for problems.
  • Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) is a special MRI method that studies blood vessels and blood flow. For more information, see the topic Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA).

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 29, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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