Abbreviated MRI Protocols for the Abdomen

Radiographics. 2019 May-Jun;39(3):744-758. doi: 10.1148/rg.2019180123. Epub 2019 Mar 22.


Technical advances in MRI have improved image quality and have led to expanding clinical indications for its use. However, long examination and interpretation times, as well as higher costs, still represent barriers to use of MRI. Abbreviated MRI protocols have emerged as an alternative to standard MRI protocols. These abbreviated MRI protocols seek to reduce longer MRI protocols by eliminating unnecessary or redundant sequences that negatively affect cost, MRI table time, patient comfort, image quality, and image interpretation time. However, the diagnostic information is generally not compromised. Abbreviated MRI protocols have already been used successfully for hepatocellular carcinoma screening, for prostate cancer detection, and for screening for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease as well as monitoring patients with this disease. It has been reported that image acquisition time and costs can be considerably reduced with abbreviated MRI protocols, compared with standard MRI protocols, while maintaining a similar sensitivity and accuracy. Nevertheless, multiple applications still need to be explored in the abdomen and pelvis (eg, surveillance of metastases to the liver; follow-up of cystic pancreatic lesions, adrenal incidentalomas, and small renal masses; evaluation of ovarian cysts in postmenopausal women; staging of cervical and uterine corpus neoplasms; evaluation of müllerian duct anomalies). This article describes some successful applications of abbreviated MRI protocols, demonstrates how they can help in improving the MRI workflow, and explores potential future directions. ©RSNA, 2019.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adenocarcinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Adenocarcinoma / secondary
  • Adrenal Gland Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Colorectal Neoplasms
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / economics
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / trends
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging