Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging of the pancreas

Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2009 Feb;20(1):43-7. doi: 10.1097/RMR.0b013e3181b48667.


Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) assesses the random motion of the water protons. The technique is more frequently used in body imaging, and recent investigations showed its use in pancreatic imaging. Diffusion-weighted imaging can be helpful as a complementary imaging method in the differentiation between mass-forming focal pancreatitis and pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values derived from DWI can distinguish between simple pancreatic cyst, inflammatory cysts, and cystic neoplasms of the pancreas. Presence of parenchymal fibrosis in chronic pancreatitis causes diffusion restriction and results in lower ADC values on baseline DWI. The ADC values reveal either delayed peak after secretin stimulation or lower peak values in patients with early chronic pancreatitis, which may be helpful to depict chronic pancreatitis in its earliest stage. In this paper, we reviewed the technical aspects of DWI and its use in pancreatic imaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance / methods*
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance / trends*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnosis*