What is magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)?
MRCP is a noninvasive fluid-sensitive heavily T2-weighted sequence, which is primarily used to assess the biliary and pancreatic ductal systems. Fluid-containing structures (bile ducts, pancreatic duct, bowel, etc.) appear very high in signal intensity relative to a dark tissue background. MRCP can be displayed with a thin-section technique (2- to 5-mm thick slices) or a thick slab technique (projection images 20 to 60 mm in thickness shown in coronal and oblique coronal planes). Thick slab MRCP images are useful to quickly assess for the presence of biliary and pancreatic ductal dilation, whereas thin-section MRCP images are useful to assess for the presence and location of transition sites of ductal obstruction along with detection of abnormal internal contents within the ductal systems such as may be caused by calculi, debris, or tumors.