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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2017, Article ID 2403012, 11 pages
Review Article

Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Cholangiography: Practical Tips and Clinical Indications for Biliary Disease Management

1Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies-Radiodiagnostic and Radiotherapy Unit, University Hospital “Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele”, 95123 Catania, Italy
2UOC Diagnostica per Immagini PO “Santa Maria delle Grazie”, ASL NA2 Nord, Pozzuoli, Napoli, Italy
3Diagnostica per Immagini S.R.L., Viale XX Settembre 53, 95129 Catania, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Stefano Palmucci; gro.mris@iccumlaps

Received 21 August 2016; Accepted 15 January 2017; Published 28 February 2017

Academic Editor: Massimiliano Berretta

Copyright © 2017 Stefano Palmucci et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since its introduction, MRCP has been improved over the years due to the introduction of several technical advances and innovations. It consists of a noninvasive method for biliary tree representation, based on heavily T2-weighted images. Conventionally, its protocol includes two-dimensional single-shot fast spin-echo images, acquired with thin sections or with multiple thick slabs. In recent years, three-dimensional T2-weighted fast-recovery fast spin-echo images have been added to the conventional protocol, increasing the possibility of biliary anatomy demonstration and leading to a significant benefit over conventional 2D imaging. A significant innovation has been reached with the introduction of hepatobiliary contrasts, represented by gadoxetic acid and gadobenate dimeglumine: they are excreted into the bile canaliculi, allowing the opacification of the biliary tree. Recently, 3D interpolated T1-weighted spoiled gradient echo images have been proposed for the evaluation of the biliary tree, obtaining images after hepatobiliary contrast agent administration. Thus, the acquisition of these excretory phases improves the diagnostic capability of conventional MRCP—based on T2 acquisitions. In this paper, technical features of contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance cholangiography are briefly discussed; main diagnostic tips of hepatobiliary phase are showed, emphasizing the benefit of enhanced cholangiography in comparison with conventional MRCP.