Abdominal Imaging

The Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Division provides a full range of diagnostic magnetic resonance imaging services. The radiologists and staff within the MRI Division perform state-of-the-art MR scanning on all parts of the chest, abdomen and pelvis.

Some types of MR studies available to patients include:

  • Adrenal Gland Imaging
    All of our MR systems are capable of performing “chemical shift” imaging that distinguishes malignant from benign adrenal masses. Some patients may have a tumor of the adrenal gland that results in high blood pressure. MR can detect and characterize such masses and suggest which lesions are amenable to surgical therapy.
  • Bladder Imaging
    Men with bladder cancer can be treated by tumor removal through a cystoscope or by partially or completely removing the bladder. MR can evaluate bladder tumors for:
    • size and location of the tumor
    • presence or absence of the tumor into or beyond the bladder wall
    • presence of tumor spreading to other sites
    • Breast MRI – See Breast Imaging Division
  • Cervical Cancer
    A PAP smear initially diagnoses women with cervical cancer. MR can provide information about the extent of the cervical tumor to determine whether surgical treatment or radiation therapy is best. MR can provide information such as:
    • size and location of the cervical tumor.
    • presence or absence of tumor spread into or beyond the cervical margins.
    • presence of tumor spread to surrounding lymph nodes or ureter
  • Colon Imaging
    Screening examinations of the colon are best achieved through barium enema or CT colonography. MR is ideal for evaluating potential fistula tracts of the distal colon, rectum or anus which occur in various conditions including inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Kidney Imaging
    Kidney MR applications that may characterize renal masses include:
    • diagnosis and staging of renal neoplasms.
    • characterization of renal cysts (i.e., lesions that can be followed vs. cysts which need sampling and/or removal).
  • Liver Imaging
    MR is considered the most accurate imaging method for liver evaluation. Applications include:
    • evaluation of cirrhosis and its complications (e.g., ascites, varices and liver cancer).
    • detect and characterize hepatic steatosis (fatty liver) or hemochromotosis (iron overload of the liver).
    • detect and characterize focal liver masses and determine which lesions can be followed from the lesions that require therapy.
  • Ovarian Imaging
    MR imaging of the ovaries is often performed after an ultrasound cannot identify an ovary or characterize and ovarian lesion. MR can detect and characterize many types of ovarian pathology that can be treated conservatively or with laparoscopy including:
    • chocolate cysts of endometriosis.
    • ovarian dermoid cysts.
    • corpus luteum cysts.
    • benign fibrous or smooth muscle tumors of the ovary.

    Sometimes a uterine fibroid can be located next to an ovary and mimic an ovarian mass. MR can often characterize the mass as benign and uterine in origin and identify a normal adjacent ovary. In women with suspected or known ovarian cancer, MR can document the location and extent of tumor prior to surgery. In women who have already had surgery and/or chemotherapy, MR can evaluate the abdomen and pelvis to document the success of therapy.
  • Pancreatic Imaging
    Many diseases of the pancreas result in blockages of the pancreatic duct which can be shown through magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) methods. MRCP is a non-invasive technique that visualizes the bile ducts, gallbladder and pancreatic ducts without the use of an endoscope or sedation. All of our magnets are capable of this technique. Applications of pancreatic MRCP include:
    • evaluating the bile ducts to exclude potential causes of obstruction (gallstone or mass).
    • detecting and characterizing the severity of pancreatitis and checking for complications.
    • staging suspected or known pancreatic tumors.
    • identifying pancreatic cysts and cystic neoplasms and determining which lesions can be watched and which need tissue sampling.
  • Prostate Imaging
    Most MR studies of the prostate are performed on men who have documented prostate cancer. MR can stage a known cancer that may help determine optimal therapies. An MR of the prostate includes:
    • size and location of a prostate tumor.
    • volume of the entire prostate gland.
    • presence or absence of tumor spread beyond the prostate.
    • presence of tumor spread to surrounding lymph nodes or bones.
  • Testicular Imaging
    Ultrasound is often the first imaging test conducted on the testes and scrotum. MR is an option to further an equivocal or indeterminate ultrasound finding.
  • Uterine Imaging
    Most imaging of the uterus involves the evolution of an enlarged uterus or evaluation of a uterine cause of pelvic pain or abnormal bleeding. Uterine fibroids are a common cause of pelvic pain and bleeding. MR can detect, localize and characterize fibroid tumors of the uterus and determine which therapies may provide the best results.

    Adenomyosis is another condition of the uterus that may result in similar signs and symptoms as fibroids. Adenomyosis occurs when endometrial glands of the uterus grow into the muscle portion (myometrium) or the uterus. MR can detect and characterize the severity of adenomyosis.