Abdomen Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Reasons, Preparation and Procedure

Submitted on March 27, 2012

MRI of The Abdomen

Magentic Resonance Imaging or MRI is done with a special machine that uses pulses of radio wave energy and a magnetic field to create pictures and check the internal organs inside the abdomen. Abdominal CT scan or abdominal cat scan, abdominal ultrasound, and X-ray are used for check-ups too. But the abdominal MRI images can give more information about the organs than the above mentioned techniques.

While doing a MRI scan, the patient is placed in a machine with the magnet so that the abdomen is within the powerful magnetic field. The MRI images, which can be stored on the computer, can look into tissues and the structure of organs and can detect any abnormality.

Why is an MRI done?

An abdominal MRI is done to

  • Check blood vessels and organs before an organ transplantation surgery or before an abdominal surgery.
  • Check for a stone or blockage in the bile duct.
  • Check pelvic organs and abdominal organs for congenital problems, bleeding or tumors.
  • Locate tumors or problems in the abdominal tissues and organs. In some cases, a scan can also determine if a tumor is malignant or benign.

What To Know Before the Test

You need to tell your technologist if you

  • Are pregnant or there are chances that you might be carrying.
  • Have metal bits in your body, have an artificial limb or have a pacemaker.
  • Could be allergic to any material used in a MRI scan.
  • Are allergic to certain medication.
  • Have had surgery on a blood vessel.
  • Have an IUD or intrauterine device.
  • Are claustrophobic.
  • Have any other health problems.
  • Have any medicine patches on your body.


  • You might be asked to refrain from food and water for sometime before the MRI scan.
  • You might also be asked to sign a consent form.

How Is it Done?

This test is done by an MRI technologist, while the images from the scan are interpreted by a radiologist. Sometimes other doctors interpret the images too.

Once you've taken of all the metal objects that might have been there on your body (metal will be attracted to the magnet), you will be asked to take off all or most of your clothes. You can wear a hospital gown for the test. Then you will be asked to lie on your back on the MRI scanner table, and straps might be used to hold your arms, chest and head still. Then that table will be slid into the magnet and a coil would be placed over your abdomen (this coil is used for the scan). You breathing will be sensed with a belt.

It is important to remain still while the test is going on. You will be able to communicate with the technologist through a two-way intercom. An MRI test can be done between half an hour to 60 minutes, and can go on for two hours in some cases.