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Patient Instructions

  • Magnetic Resonance Choloangiopancreatography (MRCP)

Patient Instructions - Magnetic Resonance Choloangiopancreatography (MRCP)

A MRCP uses an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scanner to obtain images of the organs and ducts (tubes) in the abdomen. The scan produces images of the liver, pancreas, bilary tract, common bile duct, etc.

Before your Procedure

A MRCP is used to detect abnormalities within the abdomen. The magnetic fields used in MRCP are not known to be harmful and MRCP is painless. However, because of the way MRCP works, metal in or on your body can affect the MRCP pictures. The MRI staff will interview you briefly before the scan about other implanted metal or electronic devices and determine if you are safe to have a MRCP scan.

Tell your doctor and MRI technologist if you have:

  • Cardiac pacemaker or artificial heart valve
  • Metal plate, pin or other metal implant
  • Insulin pump or other infusion pump
  • Aneurysm clips 
  • Stents
  • IUD
  • Inner ear implant
  • ETC
  • Metal, electronic or magnetic items in or on your body


  • Let your doctor or MRI staff know if you are pregnant or nursing. MRCP without contrast is safe for pregnant patients.

  • Stop eating and drinking for 4 hours prior to your exam. Medications may be taken with a sip of water.

  • You will be asked to drink a special liquid prior to the MRCP as long as you are not pregnant.

  • It is very important that you are able to lie still during the scan. Movement will blur the pictures, producing a poor exam.

  • You will be asked to leave all metallic objects (jewelry, watches, hairpins, hearing aides, dentures, etc.) in a secure place outside the scanning room.

During your Procedure

  • You will be positioned on the exam table, lying on your back.

  • The table will slide into the large, tube-shaped magnet (the scanner) so that the area to be studied is in the center of the scanner.

  • During the exam, the MRI scanner makes loud knocking or thumping sounds. Earplugs or headphones with your choice of music are available for your comfort.

  • You will need to hold your breath for some pictures.

  • The length of your exam will depend on your medical condition, usually between 20-30 minutes.

  • The MRCP can be used as an alternate or to compliment an ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography).

After your Procedure

  • Your doctor will be contacted with the results of your test and will discuss the results with you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your provider. 

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