What Is A MRCP Test?

Submitted by Nic on October 18, 2012

The pancreas and the gall bladder both release enzymes that are useful for the process of digestion. Digestion takes place when these enzymes, along with others in the body, break down the food so that it can be absorbed in the intestinal system. Wastes from this process are allowed to flow out of the body in the form of fecal matter.

The MRCP test is known as the Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography test. The MRCP test is used to generate images of the pancreas, the gall bladder, the bile ducts, the liver and the pancreatic ducts. The MRCP test for gallstones is thus usually recommended for many. The liver is the organ that produces bile which flows into the gall bladder before it is released into the intestines for digestion. The pancreas produces its own enzymes used for digestive purposes. The MRCP test thus uses both these important glands to figure out why the patient is suffering from abdominal pain and also to figure out why digestion is not taking place as efficiently as possible. Also read more on ERCP test.

A magnetic resonance image is used to produce detailed images of the structures within the body. Magnetic resonance means the ability of the organs, bones and tissues to reflect the magnetic waves that are sent into the body. When this happens, the image will be generated. Denser tissues like bone tissue will reflect more strongly than tissue that is thin. The structures within the body are then analyzed for their size and shape and also to check for any abnormalities like tumors, bulges or growths. Any metal objects worn during the test will cause serious problems because of the use of magnetic waves. Individuals with pacemakers or with metal plates used for joint and bone repair will not be able to undertake this test.

The MRCP test preparation requires the patient to avoid eating or drinking for a period of up to 8 hours prior to the test. In some cases, the patient may be made to consume a contrast material orally. Contrast materials may also be injected into the blood so that the glands being analyzed appear more clearly in the images that are produced. The MRCP test procedure takes up to an hour to complete. The doctor will ask the technician to take a number of images for which the patient may need to be angled or moved. An MRI machine can be quite intimidating for some patients which is why they may need to have family members around.

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