Abdominal MRI

Is an imaging test that uses powerful magnets and radio waves. The waves create pictures of the inside of the belly area. It does not use radiation (x-rays)

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 (malignant).
  • Check lower abdominal and pelvic organs for tumors, bleeding, or problems present since birth (congenital abnormalities).
  • Find a blocked tube or stones in the tube that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder (bile duct).
  • Check organs and blood vessels prior to organ transplantation or surgery.

You may be asked to wear a hospital gown or clothing without metal zippers or snaps (such as sweatpants and a t-shirt). Certain types of metal can cause blurry images.

You will lie on a narrow table. The table slides into a large tunnel-shaped scanner.

Some exams require a special dye (contrast). Most of the time, the dye is given before the test through a vein (IV) in your hand or forearm. The dye helps the radiologist see certain areas more clearly.

During the MRI, the person who operates the machine will watch you from another room. The test lasts about 30 to 60 minutes, but it may take longer.

An abnormal result may be due to:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Abscess
  • Cancer or tumors that involves the adrenal glands, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, ureters, intestines
  • Enlarged spleen or liver
  • Gallbladder or bile duct problems
  • Hemangiomas
  • Hydronephrosis (kidney swelling from the backflow of urine)
  • Kidney infection
  • Kidney damage or diseases
  • Kidney stones
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Obstructed vena cava
  • Portal vein obstruction (liver)
  • Blockage or narrowing of the arteries that supply the kidneys
  • Renal vein thrombosis
  • Kidney or liver transplant rejection
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Spread of cancers that began outside the belly

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