GI Procedures FAQs

Abdominal MRI


What is an abdominal MRI?

A magnetic resonance imaging scan that uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the inside of the belly area. It does not use radiation- x-rays.

Why is the abdominal MRI performed?

An MRI can determine normal tissue versus tumors and is also used to verify results from previous x-rays for the following:

  • Cancer and tumors
  • Blood flow or vessels in the abdomen
  • The cause of abdominal pain or swelling
  • The cause of abnormal blood test results, such as liver or kidney problems
  • To look for gallstones in the bile ducts and to detect for certain pancreatic problems

How is the test performed?

The test will take 30-60 minutes and is not painful. A special dye may be given before the test through a vein (IV) in your hand or forearm so the radiologist can see areas more clearly.  Some tests do not require dye.

How do you prepare for the test?

No eating or drinking 4 to 6 hours before the scan. Because the MRI contains strong magnets, metal objects are not allowed into the room with the MRI scanner so you must tell your doctor prior to the test if you have:

  • Brain aneurysm clips
  • Certain types of artificial heart valves
  • Heart defibrillator or pacemaker
  • Inner ear (cochlear) implants
  • Kidney disease or dialysis (you may not be able to receive contrast)
  • Recently placed artificial joints
  • Certain types of vascular stents
  • Worked in a profession where metal splinters or other metal objects may still remain in your body
  • Tattoos or metallic ink

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