Diagnosis: Magnetic Resonance imaging (MRI)
MRI scans use radio waves and powerful magnets instead of x-rays to measure the energy of molecules in a certain area of the body. Abnormal cells respond differently to radio waves and magnets than normal cells. Like a CT scan, image “slices” are taken while the patient lies on a table and a computer compiles the data into pictures of different tissues inside the body. MRI creates cross-sectional, three-dimensional images of the body.
MRI images are different than CT scans and the two tests may provide different information. Because MRI does not require the patient to take contrast dye, it is often used for people who are allergic to the dye needed for CT scans.
In addition, a MRCP can be performed at the time of the MRI for patients who need specific imaging of the bile and pancreatic ducts. MRI scans take longer than CT scans and require a patient to lie motionless in a long cylinder. Patients who are claustrophobic may require sedation before entering the MRI scanner.
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