Technology insight: applications of MRI for the evaluation of benign disease of the pancreas

Nat Clin Pract Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Mar;4(3):148-59. doi: 10.1038/ncpgasthep0760.


This article reviews the role of MRI in the evaluation of benign pancreatic disease. Although MRI and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) are most often used to evaluate the liver and bile duct, technical advances such as the use of secretin stimulation also allow for high-quality imaging of the pancreas and pancreatic ductal system. Secretin-stimulated MRCP (S-MRCP) can aid the diagnosis of acute and chronic pancreatitis, and delineate ductal pathology such as benign strictures and duct leaks. There seems to be a role for S-MRCP in the assessment of pancreatic function and (possibly) sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. When endoscopic or surgical therapy is planned, S-MRCP can help to establish a diagnosis as well as offer a 'road map' to guide therapy. S-MRCP is noninvasive and almost entirely without risk to the patient, which gives it a distinct advantage over traditional endoscopic methods of diagnosis for conditions such as pancreas divisum and other ductal pathology. The information provided by S-MRCP, obtained before endoscopic or surgical therapy is attempted, can assist the patient and physician in making a fully informed decision with regard to the risks and probable benefits of any planned intervention.

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Secretin
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography


  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Secretin