Gall Bladder MRCP MRI scan | Medserena Open MRI

Medserena Gall Bladder MRCP MRI scan

Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP); non-invasive procedure to help diagnose medical conditions relating to the gall bladder and bile duct, price includes:

  • Open and Upright MRI scan
  • 50 minutes appointment
  • Radiologist findings report
  • Images on USB at the end of the scan
    and available to NHS trusts via IEP on request
  • Complimentary refreshments

Please wear metal free clothing and if possible, avoid wearing any jewellery. Alternatively, Medserena can provide you with a gown to change into for your scan. Please ensure not to eat or drink anything four hours prior to your MRCP scan. Scroll down for more gall bladder and bile duct MRI scan information.

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About Gall Bladder MRCP MRI scans

An Gall Bladder MRCP MRI scan can give a detailed in-depth view of the structures, organs, muscles and blood vessels in the abdomen. It can investigate the cause of pain and swelling in the abdomen and diagnose conditions such as gallstones, stone-like lumps that develop in the gallbladder, and evaluate the bile ducts for disease.

MRI may be used to diagnose cancerous tumours, lumps, inflammation, infection, and unexplained abdominal pain.

Medserena’s abdomen MRI scan is a Magnetic Resonance Cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) scan which focuses specifically on the gallbladder and bile ducts.

It is carried out in an upright open scanner so it is a good option for imaging for patients who suffer from claustrophobia, who may find it too challenging to lie in a confined space in a conventional tunnel scanner. The patient is seated with the equipment wrapped around their middle and they are asked to fast for four hours before the scan to get good clear images.

MRCP is a safer and more comfortable alternative to a more invasive test called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), where a long flexible tube is inserted down the throat to take x-rays of the pancreas, gallbladder, and bile ducts.

What conditions can an Gall Bladder MRCP MRI scan detect?

These include:

  • Gallstones: Sometimes stones form in the gallbladder, an organ that stores bile fluid for breaking down fat. They affect approximately 15 per cent of the population, but most people who have them won’t have any symptoms or need treatment.[i] However, if the stones block the ducts carrying bile to the small intestine, they can cause severe abdominal pain, known as biliary colic.[ii] The pain is caused by the gallbladder contracting to try to move the stone out of the duct. In a small percentage of cases, gallstones can cause more serious conditions such as pancreatitis, where the pancreas becomes inflamed. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), fever and abdominal tenderness.[iii]
  • Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC): This is a long-term liver disease where the bile ducts (tubes that connect the liver and gall bladder to the small bowel), become hard and narrow because of inflammation and scarring. The cause is unknown, but it is common in people with inflammatory bowel diseases ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. In most cases it is a silent disease in the early stages, the first symptoms are vague and include tiredness and discomfort in the right upper abdomen. Later symptoms include itching, jaundice, fever, shaking and chills.[iv] Complications of PSC can include bile duct cancer.
  • Bile duct cancer: Also known as cholangiocarcinoma, bile duct cancer is rare with around 1,500 cases a year diagnosed in the UK.[v] It is more common in men than women and mainly affects those aged over 65. Symptoms include loss of appetite/ unexplained weight loss, jaundice, dark urine, pale stools, itchy skin, nausea and sickness, and pain in the tummy. MRI is an imaging technique used to diagnose this type of cancer.
  • Pancreatic cancer: The pancreas makes enzymes needed for digestion and hormones used for controlling blood sugar. There are 10,300 cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed every year in the UK, 45 per cent of cases are in the over-75s and it is uncommon in people aged under 45. The known risk factors include smoking, being overweight, family history and diabetes. Symptoms can be vague and include jaundice, weight loss, pain in the tummy and or back. MRI scans can be used to diagnose it.

Other benefits of a Medserena open MRI scan

Open MRI scanners are a stress-free alternative to using a conventional enclosed tunnel MRI scanner, providing comfort and reassurance for people who suffer from anxiety or claustrophobia. Sitting upright is more comfortable for patients and the open front means patients can speak to a friend or relative or watch television throughout as distraction.

Open MRI scans can also accommodate larger/ heavier patients who might have difficulty fitting comfortably into a conventional tunnel scanner, as they can take weights of up to 35 stone (226kg). However, suitability will depend on the patient’s build and the area of anatomy that needs to be scanned.


The Upright MRI is truly open. There are no tunnels, no narrow tubes. The system is particularly quiet, the examination is comfortable and does not trigger feelings of being in a confined space. This means that the Upright MRI is particularly tolerated by patients who suffer from “claustrophobia”.

Because the system offers you an unrestricted view, you can watch TV or see DVD movies on a large screen during the scan. Wearing headphones – as with other MRI systems – is usually not necessary.

According to the current state of knowledge, there is no danger to the patient’s health as magnetic resonance imaging only uses magnetic fields and radio waves.

Metallic foreign bodies within the patient, such as fixed dental prosthesis, artificial joints or metal plates after treatment for a fracture do not usually pose any danger. However, it is important to clarify that the implants you use are MRI-compatible before the examination.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) utilises a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to form images of your body. It is non-invasive, painless and does not use any ionising radiation.

Our truly open MRI can scan you in different positions. Through the utilisation of a specially designed MRI system we can offer weight-bearing scans – sitting or standing. The design of the system allows the patient to be positioned in different postures (e.g. flexion or extension) so that the patient may be examined in the position where they experience pain. The reason to do this is that some pathologies are underestimated or even not seen in a conventional supine MRI scan. The technique has value in many applications: e.g. spine, knees, hips, ankles. This has been proven in scientific studies and documented in peer reviewed publications.

In addition, it offers the possibility of performing an MRI scan on patients who could not otherwise tolerate the examination. This may include the claustrophobic patient, who benefits from the truly open nature of the equipment, and the severely kyphotic patient or emphysema sufferer who simply cannot lie down. It can also facilitate scanning of large patients who struggle to fit conventional ‘bore’ MRI scanners.

Of course, we have a comfortable waiting area but if you want them to stay in the scan room with you, they will also need to fill out a safety questionnaire. There is enough space for a companion. The person can even hold your hand and communicate with you during the examination. This is particularly beneficial when examining teenager.

This depends above all on which part of the body needs to be examined. In the Upright MRI, special examinations can be carried out in various body positions. The entire scan generally takes between 30 and 45 minutes. However, since you have the opportunity to watch TV or DVD, this time will go by much quicker.

Eat and drink normally and, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, please continue taking medications as normal. If you have any special needs (e.g. wheelchair access) please inform us when making the appointment.

Your appointment confirmation; referral letter/form; Medical Insurance details if applicable. We accept all major debit/credit cards.

We will provide a gown/clothing for you to wear when you are scanned. If you prefer to wear your own, please ensure that you wear or bring clothing without any metal fasteners, zips or under-wiring as these cannot be worn in the scan room. The changing room can be locked for safe storage of your possessions.

You will be able to walk into the scanner. It has no tunnel or bore. You will be able to hear us and talk with us during your scan if necessary-and we will be able to see you at all times. Due to its open nature, you will even be able to watch TV or a DVD whilst having the scan. Depending on which part of you is being scanned, you may be asked to sit or stand, and assume different postures (for example bending forward.) The radiographer may place a receiver “coil” around the relevant area of your body. You will need to remain very still while the acquisition is done in order to prevent blurring of the images. You will hear some tapping from the scanner but in general it is much quieter than many other MRI scanners.

You will not feel anything while having the scan. There is no pain or unusual feeling of any type and you will experience no after effects.

YES. There are some things that can prevent you from having an MRI scan. You will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire on arrival at the Centre which will cover the contra-indications-but if you are making an appointment and any of the factors below affect you, please discuss this with us in advance as it may save you a wasted trip.

Contra-indications can include:

  • Pacemaker
  • IUDs
  • Surgical clips
  • Pregnancy
  • Metal fragments in the body
  • Metal pins/plates/screws
  • Joint replacements
  • Metal objects in eyes
  • Cochlear implants
  • IVC filters
  • Metal heart valves
  • Penile implants

It is also important to tell us if you have any tattoos or piercings.

Watches, jewellery, coins, keys, cigarette lighters, penknives, credit cards. piercings, hairgrips, wigs, nicotine patches, and hearing aids must be removed.

Your scan will be reported by a Consultant Radiologist. It will normally be available in a couple of days unless needed urgently. The images and report will be sent to your referring practitioner. If you have a follow up appointment, please make us aware of the details so we can ensure the report and images are available in time.