Objectives: Magnetic resonance (MR) cholangiography is a newly developed adjunctive tool for noninvasive evaluation of patients with obstructive jaundice. We discuss whether MR cholangiography can provide useful information about the biliary tract, compared with other diagnostic modalities.
Methods: MR cholangiographies of 20 patients with obstructive jaundice were reviewed to evaluate the site of obstruction, the cause of obstruction, and the degree of stricture.
Results: The precise location of an obstructing lesion and complete display of the dilated biliary tree just proximal to the obstruction were provided in all 20 patients by MR cholangiography the same as in direct cholangiography. MR cholangiography could completely distinguish common duct stones from malignancies, whereas accurate differentiation among the malignancies was impossible. In six patients, MR cholangiography was not able to help in differentiating between high-grade stenosis and complete occlusion.
Conclusion: Although precise cholangiographic estimation of the morphology and extent of the malignant disease by MR cholangiography was inferior to direct cholangiography, MR cholangiography is easily performed for a short duration and is a noninvasive diagnostic modality for assessing the outline of the anatomy of the dilated biliary tree. Therefore, we recommend promptly performing MR cholangiography if obstructive jaundice is suspected on clinical grounds.