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Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Abdomen

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) camera.gif 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).
  • 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. To learn more, see the topic Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA).

Other Works Consulted

  • Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis: Saunders.

  • Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009). Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

  • Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010). Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerHoward Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
Current as ofNovember 29, 2012
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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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