Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is the most effective, safe, noninvasive magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technique for the evaluation of the pancreaticobiliary ductal system. The MRCP imaging technique has substantially improved during the past 2 decades and is based mainly on the acquisition of heavily T2-weighted MR images, with variants of fast spin-echo sequences. MRCP can also be performed by utilizing the hormone secretin, which stimulates a normal pancreas to secrete a significant amount of fluid while transiently increasing the tone of the sphincter of Oddi. The transient increase in the diameter of the pancreatic duct improves the depiction of the ductal anatomy, which can be useful in patients in whom detailed evaluation of the pancreatic duct is most desired because of a suspicion of pancreatic disease. Improved depiction of the ductal anatomy can be important in (a) the differentiation of side-branch intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms from other cystic neoplasms and (b) the diagnosis and classification of chronic pancreatitis, the disconnected pancreatic duct syndrome, and ductal anomalies such as anomalous pancreaticobiliary junction and pancreas divisum. In patients examined after pancreatectomy, stimulation with secretin can give information about the patency of the pancreaticoenteric anastomosis. Duodenal filling during the secretin-enhanced phase of the MRCP examination can be used to estimate the excretory reserve of the pancreas. Secretin is well tolerated, and complications are rarely seen. Secretin-enhanced MRCP is most useful in (a) the evaluation of acute and chronic pancreatitis, congenital variants of the pancreaticoduodenal junction, and intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms and (b) follow-up of patients after pancreatectomy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging